Dear All,

Greetings for the new year!

I hope you have all had a super holiday season!

As we begin 2010, we count our blessings for the invaluable support we have from our dear friends, colleagues and partners -- including each one of you. We would also like to convey a special thank you to IKEA for its wonderful work to make a difference in the lives of truck drivers in India.

At the end of December, IKEA, CHP, APL logistics and Albatross conducted a workshop with truck drivers and allied community members in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh. The workshop employed various interactive tools and methods to stimulate dialogue-based communication for HIV and STI risk reduction. In addition to an interpersonal communication session, the workshop presented a magnet theatre performance on truck driver-MSM issues. The performance was conducted by truck drivers and MSM community members themselves. In fact, the workshop was entirely led by trained community members. The workshop also employed various other entertainment education tools to generate HIV-related awareness and explore practical risk reduction techniques. A link to the workshop report (and its agenda) is attached here: http://chp.community.officelive.com/IKEA.aspx

At the end of the 3-hour workshop all participants were given certificates by IKEA to acknowledge their participation and contribution.

Thank you all again for your invaluable support and partnership.

We look forward to learning lots more from you this year!

With many thanks always,
Ash

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Comment by Ash Pachauri on January 11, 2010 at 8:34am
Dear Rituu,

Thanks for your message and interest in learning more about the MSM-trucker performance.

The initial idea to integrate MSM issues within the performance germinated from AIDSCOMPETENCE and its ongoing dialogue on this issue. Subsequently, we conducted a session with the truck drivers to select issues for our upcoming MT performance. The truck drivers themselves highlighted MSM issues as key. We adopted collective advice and chose to work on an MSM-trucker script.

The nature of participation at the IKEA workshop was interesting, as the MT performance was strong and as a result stimulated a lot of dialogue around MSM issues. There was an overwhelming number of drivers that pointed to MSM activity among truck drivers. What was also interesting was the number of myths and misconceptions which emerged about perceived HIV risks relating to MSM contact. A number of the truck drivers indicated no perceived risk in unprotected MSM activity.

I look forward to sharing more as our work in this area progresses. Thank you once again for all your support and encouragement.

Warmly,
Ash
Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on January 9, 2010 at 6:26pm
Dear Ash,

Congratulations on this interesting initiative with IKEA. A few queries please:-).

Why did you think of bringing MSM with truckers for the Magnet theatre? How open were the truckers to this? You have been doing Magnet Theatre with truckers. How different was this performance from non-MSM participation- in terms of issues raised during the performance and the impact and response of the audience?

Look forward to hearing from you. Thanks a lot.

Rituu

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