The mapuche are one of the largest ethnic minorities in Chile. This activity is representative of UNESCO's work on HIV prevention from an intercultural perspective, emphasizing the need to address issues within the cultural diversity that exists in every country and context.
In countries like Chile, where over 95% of infections occur through unprotected sexual relations, strategies that allow indigenous groups to be included, and that respect their particular cosmo-vision of the world, of the human being, and as such, of sexuality, is key to the success of a national response.
During a trawün on HIV in 2011, UNESCO was asked to support a specific trawün for traditional mapuche educators. These educators are entrusted with the protection of their culture, traditions and language among mapuche children and youth in Chile.
Juana Cheuquepán, a traditional educator and representative of Kiñe Pu Liwen organized and led the meeting, and brought together networks of traditional educator from different regions.
Student teachers from Metropolitan University of Education Sciences and teachers from the Liceo Alcalde Jorge Indo of Quilicura, a UNESCO associated school that offers intercultural education, also participated. Health professionals from the Metropolitan Health Service also contributed basic information about HIV, AIDS and STIs, including modes of transmission and prevention strategies, while emphasizing the importance of talking about the issues amongst families and communities.
Among concerns raised by the participants was the need to train more traditional educators -- recognized and respected authorities in mapuche communities- so they can address HIV and related issues, especially with younger generations that have much more contact with the "huinca" (white, Western) world. The need to raise awareness in mapuche communities about the stigma and discrimination experienced by many people living with HIV is another priority; the role that the "machi" (traditional healers) can play in delivering reliable and credible information, to affected people, their families and communities, in keeping with the mapuche world vision, needs to be developed.
• Sexuality Education for HIV prevention OREALC/UNESCO Santiago
• Mary Guinn Delaney, Regional Specialist in HIV/AIDS, email@example.com
• Victoria Valenzuela, Consultant HIV/AIDS, firstname.lastname@example.org