Case Study - The ECAP Project

By Benson Okyere-Manu
Evangelical Seminary of Southern Africa (ESSA)

ECAP stands for Evangelical Seminary of Southern Africa (ESSA) Christian AIDS Programme. It is a programme aimed at preparing Evangelical Churches in and around Pietermaritzburg to respond to the HIV/AIDS crises and helps reduce its effect on people.

The dream of ECAP dates back to 1997 when ESSA, then EBSemSA (Evangelical Bible Seminary of Southern Africa), through Rev. Jim Johnston, introduced a course in “The Church and HIV/AIDS”. Reports from students revealed how rapidly the HIV/AIDS pandemic was creeping into the townships but there was no one to help. The latter part of the year 1998 was spent analysing the situation in two townships, namely Imbali and Sobantu. The situations in both the churches and the communities were astonishing. In both communities, there were a number of Myths surrounding the disease. (The worst of this is the one that having intercourse with virgins will stop AIDS.) This is one of the reasons for the rampant raping of children in these areas). The background work continued until the Department of Health, in March 1999, granted funding to begin the work.