Programming Connection

Operation Hairspray 

Ottawa Public Health
Ottawa, Ontario

Required Resources

Human resources


Operation Hairspray is implemented with one to three staff members. Staffing needs depend on the number of businesses and peer educators involved: The more people in need of training and support, the more staff required. Given that Operation Hairspray is a project of Ottawa Public Health, a public health nurse who brings expertise in HIV/AIDS is on the team. However, a nurse is not specifically required.

It is very helpful but not mandatory to have a member of the African or Caribbean community on staff. To date, one person (the Project Coordinator) has been responsible for managing the project. She works with the Project Advisory Group to select businesses. Both the Coordinator and the Prevention Worker engage business owners and educators and conduct weekly follow-up and trainings. The public health nurse helps with training.

All staff must:

  • be committed to improving HIV/AIDS awareness in the African and Caribbean communities
  • be capable of training people with limited HIV knowledge as peer educators
  • understand cultural nuances of the community involved and take an appropriately sensitive approach to HIV education
  • have strong interpersonal skills

Project Advisory Group

This project is guided by a Project Advisory Group. For more information on this group, please see the Recruitment and Engagement section.

Peer Educators

This project is based on the work of volunteer educators to provide HIV/AIDS education and resources to members of the African and Caribbean communities in Ottawa.

Ideally, peer educators:

  • are members of the African or Caribbean community of Ottawa
  • are committed to addressing HIV/AIDS and related issues in their community
  • have strong interpersonal skills

For more information, please see the Recruitment and Engagement section.

Material resources

  • condoms
  • candy
  • combs
  • HIV Prevention Guidelines and Manual: A Tool for Service Providers Serving African and African Caribbean communities Living in Canada – available at no cost through the CATIE Ordering Centre
  • referrals for counselling and testing services

Financial Resources

  • Not including staff time, it costs less than $100 per week to run the program. This cost is associated with replenishing supplies of condoms, combs and candies.