Int. Workshop on HIV & Adolescence 2019
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Youth In Action: Young people leading the HIV response
Led by the workshop Youth Reference Group, this pre-workshop was for young people by young people. Putting adolescents and young people at the beginning of the workshop agenda, the Youth In Action half day provided space for sharing of global game changing youth-led initiatives, discussion of challenges and strategies on how to demonstrate the impact of their work.
Game-Changing Youth-led Initiatives
Missael Hotman from Inti Muda Indonesia shared the Lollipop project which works to promotes access to services for young people from key populations through creating an enabling environment, demand generation and data collection. Kenya’s Colour Festival was presented by Maisha Youth’s Sanday Thomas. Colour Festival sets out to end stigma and discrimination. Every hour a key topic area is discussed and celebrated with a different splash of colour. HIV testing, and linkages are also offered during the event. Award winning, RNJ+ Youth Centre in Burundi, is run by young people themselves. Their chair, Fabien Ndikuriyo,reported that to date, they have reached 55,000 young people from key populations providing them a safe and welcoming space and access SRHR and HIV information, counselling, and services. Lulit Mengesha from Talent Youth Association, Ethiopia, shared how they enable young people to realize their full potential with active roles in their own and their countries development programs including SRH services. In Tanzania, Asha Abbas the founder and CEO of Aurateen, presented their online SRH questions platform which connects young people to health experts who give counselling. This is complimented by offline information provision through schools. Through READY to LEAD, Audrey Nosenga from Zimbabwe Young Positives shared how 100 young women living with HIV are regularly meeting with 826 mentees to facilitate safe spaces, hear issues that are affecting them, and take those issues to district health officials and other decisionmakers so together they can act on them. Joy Oboyi from Education as a Vaccine Nigeria, shared her personal story and how only through engagement with Education as a Vaccine, where she now works with other YPLHIV, she was empowered to fully understand her HIV, health and rights.
A talk show style panel with three youth-led initiative explored the importance of demonstrating the impact of the work youth organisation are implementing. Ruth Awori, the winner of Uganda Network of Young People Living with HIV 2018 Beauty Pageant presented the pageant as a key advocacy platform to address stigma and discrimination. Featuring in national newspaper and online blogs, the pageant also creates important visibility of young people living with HIV who are dynamic and living full lives. The Zvandiri Radio programme, presented by Loyce Maturu, utilizes youth reporters with invited stakeholders to develop 40-episode series addressing key adolescent HIV topics. Through UReport, adolescents could engage in conversations and be referred to services. Over 88 000 listeners were reached. In Asia Pacific, YouthLead social media campaign, used videos and other social media to raise issue and address stigma among young key populations. Eddy Rudram, discusses the challenges and opportunities in utilising social media.
Coming soon! A youth brief on strategies to demonstrate impact - a key outcome of the Youth in Action group work
Elizabeth Bukusi, the local co-chair and Head Researcher at Kemri opened the workshop with a warm welcome to Kenya. Rebecca Nyambeki Adolescent Coordinator at Myasha Youth and local youth co-chair, placed the spotlight on the leadership of young people in the HIV response and within this wrkshop. Linda-Gail Bekker highlighted the growth and strength of the HIV & Adolescence Workshop over the past three years, almost double the number of participants and with 57% of the faculty being young people at this year’s workshop.
Structural and Systematic Barriers Sesssion
Dr. Kilonzo challenged young people with the question “If we say young people are the leader of tomorrow, what does that mean for today?” Dr. Kilonzo stressed that HIV is a social issue and requires young people to be at the center of power for decision-making and health. Calling for disruption, Dr Kilonzo, highlighted the need to do things differently for adolescents. She urged a focus on programmes that address secondary education, economic empowerment (such as cash transfers), behavioral interventions, community empowerment, safety and mental health, with young people in leadership roles as innovators and disruptors.
We heard three oral abstracts with the following key messages:
- Risky Sexual Behaviors: a Comparative Analysis Between Adolescent Female Sex Workers (AFSW) and Adolescents from the General Population (GP) in Ten Jilinde-Supported Counties in Kenya. In Kenya, we are missing adolescent girls who are selling sex from PrEP programming because they are underaged.
- Reducing HIV Risk, Retaining at-risk Girls In-School, and Linking Girls to Services in Eswatini through School-based Early Warning Systems. In eSwatini, a school-based early warning system can identify adolescent girls and young women at risk of dropping out and retain them in school.
- Politics or Evidence: Whose Perspectives Count? Key Challenges Experienced in Scaling-Up Stepping Stones Programmes. Stepping Stones has demonstrated impact on reducing vulnerability to HIV and GBV. For gender transformative programming to work we need accurate language, involve all sectors and resist the drive for short term results of quantity over quality.
View all the abstracts online – Click here!
YOUTH LEADERSHIP SESSION
Kossy Umeh from Y+ Nigeria delivered the youth-led presentation highlighting that ‘change is happening and we are leading the way!’ He highlighted that ‘We have our own Gretas!’ and shared examples of young people globally who are activists, programmers, driving policy, researchers, and leading creative arts. A panel discussion of young leaders from the Youth In Action session, called for sustained investment in youth-led projects and initiatives so that young people can drive HIV, SRHR, gender equality and mental wellbeing programmes. Young panellists also reflected on their own accountability in ensuring that they are mentoring other young people and stepping up to the plate.
Maisha youth advocates took over UNICEF Africa's Instagram stories. Visit https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/18103298407047077/
A Youth Innovation Fund by Y-labs and ViiV Healthcare was launched. This provides funind opportunity for youth led organisation in Kenya.
Don’t forget to follow all the action on Social Media!
#HIVAdolescence #YouthInAction #ReadyMovement
Handles to follow:
Aidsfonds @Aidsfonds, ATHENA Network @NetworkATHENA, Frontline AIDS @frontlineaids, GNP+ @gnpplus, Grassroot Soccer @GrassrootSoccer, Maisha Youth @MaishaYouth, NACC @NACC_Kenya, PATA @teampata, UNICEF Africa @UNICEFAfrica, ViiV Healthcare @ViiVHC, Virology Education @Virology_Edu, Y + @yplus_network