Beyond data production : exploring the use of a digital archive in addressing HIV-related stigma with educators in two rural schools in KwaZulu-Natal.
This study outlines the use of a digital archive (a data set of staged HIV stigma photographs which were taken by Grade 8 and 9 learners) with educators in two rural schools in KwaZulu-Natal, exploring their views on using it in their teaching to address HIV and AIDS-related stigma. It responds to the need for creative and participatory methods in addressing HIV and AIDS. A qualitative, interpretive, exploratory and contextual design, using community-based participatory research methodology, was used to explore the digital archive, identify, and try out ways in which it could be used in addressing the pandemic. Data was generated using ICT-based focus group interviews involving fourteen male and female educators from two schools some - who have been participating in HIV research projects. I draw on a psycho-social framework within the ecosystemic approach, the values of community psychology and research as social change. A digital archive has potential for communication and transferring information, especially in a rural area. It also shows potential to get both females and males to work together in addressing HIV-related stigma, hence reducing the gendered skewness of this pandemic. From the educators‟ responses to using the digital archive, themes emerged around working with the content of the archive, using the archive for teaching and learning, using the archive for engaging with stigma in the school and for change in the community. The findings suggest that the use of a digital archive in a rural context can enable educators to access and share digital material, which is locally produced, relevant and realistic, to address HIV-related stigma in the school. The tool in use can facilitate community participation and be used to deepen the understanding about HIV and HIV and AIDS-related stigma to a level that has impact on individual behaviour and ultimately on the community. Despite the potential there are still challenges such as lack of access to infrastructure, literacy, and relevant content. This work is exploratory and encourages further work to explore the implications and the trends on the use of a digital archive in other school settings.