St Marks Primary and High School Alumni

St Marks Primary and High School Alumni

Aids Home Swaziland St Marks

2010 Reunion

Messages Contact us







Background Information

Available in English and siSwati




P1. Quick Look

P2. Route Map and Themes

P3. Overview


















1. Walk the Nation: A Quick Look



  • Mobilize communities across Kingdom of Swaziland to take the lead in the fight against the HIV & AIDS epidemic.
  • “Connect the dots” of these otherwise isolated community events to produce a national initiative in this country which has the highest HIV prevalence in the world. 
  • Walkers are not walking to raise funds, but to bring worldwide attention to an often easily-forgettable part of the world that suffers from this epidemic.



  • Walk border-to-border (200km).
  • Grassroots campaign for HIV & AIDS prevention.
  • Promote HIV testing and counseling and destigmatization of HIV.


  • Swazis from the rural areas will participate in both walking and community HIV programs.
  • Target various demographics within rural Swaziland.
  • Stakeholders include Prime Minister, various ministries, NGOs, community leaders.
  • Lead coordinators: UN, NERCHA (national coordinating body for HIV&AIDS response).
  • Initiated by U.S. Peace Corps volunteers.


  • Kingdom of Swaziland, in southern Africa.
  • Start:      Mocambique border (Mhlumeni).
  • Finish: South Africa border (Sicunusa).


  • Twelve Days: 2-13 March, 2008.


  • HIV awareness is already strong in the rural communities, almost to the point of saturation.  WTN joins partners together in the next step to push for individual behavioral change.
  • The 12 days are structured to systematically spotlight the myriad socioeconomic/cultural factors of the HIV epidemic:
    • Males and females of all ages targeted in a culturally appropriate context.
    • Strong focus on behavioral change of Youth: UNICEF’s “Youth Day” on 8 March.


Expected Outcomes                                                                              

  • Estimated 100,000 rural residents participating and reached through this 12-day campaign.  In addition to personal interaction during walk, Swazis will benefit via broadcasts on radio, TV, and in the print media.
  • Greater awareness on taking the lead to know one’s HIV status and how to make healthy behavioral choices.
  •  “Kilometers for Knowledge”: 200 km walked = 200 people receiving HIV Testing & counseling along the way.
  • Local and international attention drawn to this problem that affects us all.
  • Galvanize local leadership: Prime Minister will light the “Take the Lead Torch” to be passed across the country to chiefs during the walk. The torch will symbolize local leadership’s commitment to be role models in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
  • At the sendoff, Prime Minister will present the “Walk the Nation Journal” to document how people of rural Swaziland are affected by HIV and AIDS.  After the event, the PM will present the Journal to the King/legislature to better inform them as they make decisions of national policy in the multisectoral response to HIV and AIDS.

2. Walk the Nation: Itinerary

Route Map


Route Itinerary







Mhlumeni Border Post (Mocambique)

For Our Past



Mlindazwe Primary School Turn/Off

For Our Fathers




For Our Mothers



Lubombo Worldvision ADP Mbadlane

For Our Grandfathers



St. Joseph's School

For Our Students




For Today



Emphini Primary School

For Our Youth



Khalinglile Primary School

For Our Grandmothers



Ncabaneni Preschool

For Our Brothers



Velezizweni Primary School

For Our Sisters



Ngwempisi Inkhundla

For Our Babies



Sicunusa Border Post (South Africa)

For Our Future




Sample Themes


For Our Past

For Our Youth

For Our Mothers

For Our Fathers

For Our Students

How traditions and culture can fight against HIV


Being faithful

Alcohol abuse

Avoiding peer pressure

Remembering culture and traditions

Delaying sexual debut

Female condom distribution and education

Being faithful

Education as a tool to fight HIV/AIDS

Remembering the people we have lost to HIV

Joining extracurricular activities--sports, drama, music, art

Involving men in family health

Fathers as partners during pregnancy and in raising children

Joining extracurricular activities--sports, drama, music, art


orphans and vulnerable children

Multiple concurrent partners

Male circumcision

Stay in School!  Educational opportunities


Planning for your future

Prevention of mother to child transmission

Men's health

Teenage pregnancy


Volunteering and helping others

Women's empowerment

Multiple concurrent partners

Volunteering and helping others


Youth-focused dramas

Women's health



3. Background - The Kingdom of Swaziland (from BBC Country Profile)

Swaziland is a small, landlocked monarchy. The head of the country is His Majesty King Mswati III alongside the Queen Mother. Subsistence agriculture occupies more than 80% of the population.

  • Has the world’s highest HIV prevalence rate at 39.2% (2006 ANC Sentinel Surveillance)
  • Population: 1.1 million (UN, 2007)
  • Life expectancy: 32 years (men), 33 years (women) (UN)
  • Major languages: siSwati, English (both official)
  • Major religions: Christianity, indigenous beliefs
  • Lower middle-income country with a GDP per capita income of US$ 1,387(1999)
  • 69% of population lives below the poverty line
  • 56% of the country’s wealth held by 20% of the population

4. Walk the Nation Initiative: First of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa

For Swazis, by Swazis

  • Cultural ties: Before the ubiquitous minibuses, before paved roads, there was the tradition of walking, ever since Swazi ancestors first arrived in Swaziland from present-day Mocambique.
  • Rural involvement: Chiefs, pastors, traditional healers, peer educators, Rural Health Motivators have made commitments to participate, whether to walk or to mobilize for community events. 
  • Rural-focused: The intended beneficiaries are the rural communities of Swaziland. WTN walkers will seek shelter from existing community structures: churches, schools, government offices, and Neighborhood Care Points along the walk route.


Enable Access to Information and Services in Rural Communities

  • Services deployment: WTN is an opportunity for peer educators trained in various workshops and graduates of “training-of-trainers” programs to deploy their new skills.  In addition, there are many other services paid for by the Global Fund, UN, etc. that can be made known to rural communities.
  • Immediate action: WTN is not a fundraising or mere awareness event.  Through partners, teaching will take place during the walk itself, and access to services such as HIV testing and counseling will be made available in the local language.
  • Target various demographics: Twelve daily themes are set with the awareness that family relationships lie at the core of Swazi culture and society.


Opportunity to Demonstrate Local Leadership and Commitment

  • Framework to mobilize existing resources
      • Swazi government, NGOs, businesses, and individuals to use their existing resources in the fight against the HIV epidemic.
      • Capitalize on the synergies that arise when groups work together in their specialty areas
  • Human resource development
      • Collaboration between more than 20 partner agencies.
      • Exercise in large-scale mobilization.
      • Break down barriers that can develop over time between the numerous NGOs and other agencies in the country.
  • Take the Lead
      • Demonstrate how individuals can take the lead in fighting HIV and AIDS
      • Demonstrate to Swazis that all government, NGOs, and businesses are working together to fulfill this responsibility in a multisectoral, joint response.



Contributions for the WTN Initiative can be made to “NERCHA: Walk the Nation”.

Other pages in this section:

  • Forward
  • The facts
  • The way forward
  • Aids04
  • Aids05