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Alice Kauba – making a big difference in HIV/AIDS education


THIS uncompromising Engan woman has a build inherited from her Engan forebears and her heart is bigger than the valleys of Wapenamanda. She doesn’t run out of smiles and lives like a heavenly being.

Alice Kauba is widely known for her courageous and tireless efforts in running the HIV/AIDS course at the University of Goroka and she often talks with me about her plan to improve the way HIV/AIDS education is run.

This course attracts more than 300 students each semester. I assist her wherever I can and suggest help from other people including the senior management of the university.

Alice Kauba has always believed in taking a holistic approach to dealing with HIV/AIDS and her heart is evident in the way she runs the course.

She brings in staff members specialising in different disciplines - whether humanities or sciences - to provide theoretical discourse on the subject.

She calls upon biology staff to provide discourse on human anatomy, creative arts staff for life skills and communication and drama, and social sciences staff for cultural and development dimensions.

The University of Goroka has truly embraced and implemented the government’s Vision 2050’s notion of HIV/AIDS as a cross-cutting issue.

Students are encouraged to script small plays relating to HIV/AIDS to perform in different communities in Goroka. They bring out the different dimensions of their studies through the plays.

HIV/AIDS researchers at the Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research, churches, international non-government organisations like the Clinton Foundation, civil society organisations like Minivava and community-based organisations like the Garden of Eden are invited to provide practical insights into prevention, care and treatment.

Alice always works tirelessly in collaboration with partners. She believes in capacity building and has sent staff members for short training and she organises in-house workshops at the University.

Monica Sibiya and Emma MuaMonica Sibiya from Science and Emma Mua from Student Welfare Services (pictured) were part of a team that attended a week long workshop at Loloata in Central Province last year.

I was surprised over a dinner table when she announced that the meal was sponsored by the Member for Goroka, Hon Bire Kimisopa, and that a certificate of participation for a weeklong HIV/AIDS workshop was sponsored by her husband.

I sat back and thought that Alice had has shown extraordinary commitment.

A few weeks later, in a conference room, she brought a person forward and told the packed room that the person has voluntarily come forward to disclose his HIV/AIDS status.

It reminded me of Alice’ tireless effort and her superb knowledge and skills in counselling and support.

Last Wednesday I received a call from Alice and she asked me to meet her in the Expressive Arts office. When I went over, she smiled and asked how I was doing.

“Leader, I am doing well,” I said.

She smiled again and handed me a parcel and said, “I know your family need this.” I didn’t open the parcel but thanked her deeply for the gift and left for another meeting.

At home that night, my family gathered to open the parcel.

It contained a beautiful set of cutlery. My wife could not help saying, “Thank you, thank you, thank you”.

She was going to go on forever so I intervened to tell her that I would pass on her appreciation to Alice, and this is part of our appreciation story. 


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Paulus Ripa

Bomai, I have known Alice for many years dating back to her previous career as a paediatric nurse. She is a great person who is very committed and always looking for ways to do things better. She was a great nurse and educator and a very good person.

People like Alice are great role models.

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