What is Infohut?
Out of all the regions in the world, Southern Africa has the highest HIV prevalence and is the most affected by the AIDS epidemic, leaving no institution untouched. We are all challenged to come up with effective ideas to eliminate stigma and new HIV infections as well as ensure an improved quality of life. There is great urgency to work together in empowering vulnerable groups, especially the youths, with skills needed to reduce their vulnerability. Without collaboration and scalable approaches to curb the spread of HIV, the sub-region will continue experiencing unprecedented human suffering and socio-economic hardships.
The CONCEPT of an INFOHUT came from an African hut (Iqhugwane in Zulu) where the young and the old, especially the disillusioned, would seek wisdom and information to address challenges faced in their lives.
INFOHUT is a Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa (LUCSA) initiated programme which engages and equips adolescents and young people in Life Skills through the use of computers. Some of the areas covered in computers and Life Skills include:
- Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR)
- HIV & AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support
- Conflict Management and Resolution (CMR)
- Computer Digital License
- Church workers and leaders are equipped to implement INFOHUT
- Youth engage in safe HIV prevention behaviours.
- Youth have life skills and computer skills
The first INFOHUT pilot project was set up in a rural school in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa in 2007/2008 and was subsequently handed over to the local community. The local authority, the chief, mobilised resources for another Infohut center for a wider reach.
From 2009 to 2018, LUCSA expanded the Infohut project to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe (ELCZ), Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia (ELCRN), Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malawi (ELCM) and Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN). LUCSA continues to motivate other member churches to establish INFOHUTs in marginalised communities.
To create an environment conducive for effective dispensation of information to the youth about HIV & AIDS and also to impart Information Technology (IT) skills within our communities.
LIFE Skills are a set of human skills acquired via teaching or direct experience that are used to handle problems and questions commonly encountered in daily human life. In particular, life skills are a group of personal and interpersonal abilities that help people:
- Make informed decisions
- Solve problems
- Think critically and creatively
- Communicate effectively
- Build healthy relationships
- Cope with and manage their lives in a healthy and productive manner
When students partake in the programme, they not only receive IT training and computer skills, but learn social and interpersonal skills through exposure visits and trainings. These visits are often to nature reserves, hospitals, orphanages and learning specialised trade skills. The exposure visits also offer a chance for students to explore possible careers and new interests in a safe and empowering environment. This expands the students’ knowledge and level of empathy towards their fellow community members.
Upon successful completion of Computers and Life Skills at INFOHUT, students obtain certificates, which are a proof of skills gained and have been beneficiary in seeking employment.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe (ELCZ)
- ELCZ Njube Youth Centre
- Mnene Primary and Secondary Mission Schools
- Chegato Mission High School
- Masase Mission High School
- Beitbridge Mission Primary School
- Zezane Mission Secondary School
- Burure Primary and Secondary Mission Schools
- ELCZ Vashandiri Study Centre
- West Nicholson Primary Mission School
Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia (ELCRN)
- ELCAP Centre, Rehoboth
- Stampriet Centre
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN)
- Engela Parish Institute (EPI), ELCIN
- Oniipa Parish
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malawi (ELCM)
- Madisi Parish Centre, Madisi