Fellow Since 2001
Education, Training and Counselling
This profile was prepared when Linzi Smith was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2001.
The New Idea
Linzi identifies male leaders in factory workplaces and trains them to be HIV/AIDS peer educators and counselors. Because of the high level of unemployment in South Africa, employed men have high social status and authority. This means that on a community level, unemployed men often take their cues from employed men and tend to replicate their behavior. Based on her knowledge of South African sexual customs and her years of work experience, Linzi concludes that the best way to change harmful sexual behavior is to educate employed males in safe sex practices. Her organization, Education, Training and Counseling (ETC), approaches the management of corporate businesses and factories and encourages them to plan strategically, making provisions for the impact of HIV/AIDS upon their largely male workforce, and hence, upon their businesses in the future. Once accepted into a company, Linzi trains employee-leaders, motivating them to provide guidance and support to each other, and to promote safe sex projects in their communities.