We have been giving presentations to youth groups over the past three weeks on HIV prevention, transmission and stigma. Our first was at Simathero Youth Club, Vhsitola village.
We were accompanied by Youth Impact, an organisation in Liwonde which carries out human rights, environmental and HIV/AIDS projects led by young people for young people. The team are really friendly and helpful - reviewing our presentation before the meeting and translating our evaluation forms to Chichewa.
Simathero Youth Group started in 2005 out of the need to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and the dangers of unprotected sex. The youth use expressive methods such as drama and dance to relay their message. Supported by the Village Headman of Vhsitola, who is an advisor to the group, they have grown from a few to 27 members and work together with Youth Impact and Kwatukumbuchire ‘fighting the common enemy’ – HIV.
After a short introduction on the basics of HIV, we played a game on the stigma attached to the virus in the hope of making it more interactive. Aimee called out various myths associated with HIV and the people had to let us know whether they agreed, disagreed or were not sure by standing in the right category.
It was interesting to see their views – the youth were pretty clued up, with all 12 participants knowing that HIV cannot be spread by mosquitoes and sharing toilets is not a way of contracting the virus.
The feedback we got on this segment was excellent – for Simathero Youth Club it was a new way of learning and tackling a sensitive subject.
We hope to improve it for the following groups after having an evaluation meeting with Mike and Lot from Youth Impact by adding discussion points and developing other segments such as transmission and prevention.
A Surprise Interview!
Sammy, Danny and Aimee were interviewed on Friday 11th Nov by Malawi Broadcasting Corporation about the work that we do at Kwatukumbuchire. The five minute segment was aired on Saturday 12th Nov and Monday 14th November on a programme called ‘Good Morning Malawi’. They did a great job, answering questions on the spot with no chance to prepare answers beforehand.
We hope that this will open more doors for Kwatukumbuchire. You never know who's watching, right!
Barbara Eze writes for ICS volunteers Liwonde Lions.