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Joyce Larko

Joyce has enabled the distribution of What can I do? in Ghana.

Joyce Larko Steiner is the Programme Manager of the Human Rights and Gender Unit of the Christian Council of Ghana, based in national capital, Accra.  One of the Unit’s major activities is the HIV & AIDS Project.  As part of her duties, Joyce has planned and implemented the distribution of the STRATEGIES FOR HOPE film, What can I do? in Ghana. 

Over 30,000 copies of this film, which documents the ministry of the HIV-positive Ugandan priest, Canon Gideon Byamugisha, have been distributed in 55 countries.  But Ghana leads the way as far as the distribution of What can I do? is concerned.  Over 10,000 copies of the English language edition of the film have been produced and distributed in this West African country so far.

Joyce Larko Steiner says: “We decided to use What can I do? because the main focus of our HIV & AIDS project was on stigma and discrimination.  At the time, we in Ghana were struggling to identify any local religious leaders living with HIV who could give leadership on this issue.  The video has been a very useful tool because it demonstrates how religious leaders can inspire and inform their congregations to be open about HIV within the Church.”

From the outset, the Christian Council of Ghana distributed What can I do? on a national basis, working through the 224 Local Councils of Churches in the country’s 10 administrative districts.  The film is distributed in conjunction with booklets on HIV-related topics produced by the Council.  It is shown during church activities, especially those involving women and young people.

The Council’s achievement in distributing over 10,000 copies of What can I do? is remarkable.  No other country has come close to this total.  How has it been achieved?  The main factor is the ingenious marketing and distribution system devised by Joyce Larko Steiner.  The Council began by ordering a large number of copies of the film from a local video duplicating company, and distributed them to its district offices.  This was on the understanding that the video company would be paid after the Council itself was reimbursed by its district offices for the copies of the film they received. 

At the same time, the Council and its district offices gave a lot of publicity to the film, which rapidly gained in popularity, and additional copies were made.  The film has helped many people to be open about their HIV-positive status.  At Tolon, in the north of the country, a young woman stood up after a showing of the film and said: “I tell you all, I am positive and I won’t hide it any more, after this great man of God has said he is one of us.  But I will live, live and live again.”

The district offices have been gradually repaying the national office for their copies of the film. The local Councils of Churches collected the monies during their regular quarterly meetings and made payments to the national office. Repayments have come in more slowly than originally expected, but 100% of the funds owed to the video duplicating company have been repaid. See more about the film What Can I Do? here.