Global Youth Partners now has 39 youth partners
working in 29 countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia,
China, the Dominican Republic, Egypt,
El Salvador, Georgia,
Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Kenya,
Lebanon, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nepal, Nigeria,
Panama, Philippines, Russia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Sierra Leone, South
Africa, Ukraine, and Zimbabwe.
Ghana the lack of adequate sex education, access to safer methods
of sexual practices, harmful traditional practices, and the lack
of commitment among the political authority are among some of the
greatest challenges that we face in addressing HIV infections — especially
among young people. The GYP Ghana campaign has therefore made
it a primary objective to address these problems. With a core
team of members forming the GYP Ghana team, including an HIV
positive person, the team is the central coordinator of GYP activities
Over the past months, with the support of the UNFPA Country office,
GYP Ghana has been working to learn about organisations and networks
working with young people in the area of HIV prevention. We are
learning from successful advocacy campaigns and building partnerships
with other youth leaders and youth organizations.
The African Youth Alliance (AYA-Ghana) has been
very supportive of our activities. The support and commitment of
other international and national bodies such as the National Youth
Council, the Commonwealth Youth Programme (NYC-Ghana), Commonwealth
Society of Ghana, Talented Youth Theatre and other groups such
as the AYA Youth Advisory Board have been insightful in identifying
the greatest needs of young people here in Ghana.
Further, GYP Ghana has developed a national strategic advocacy
campaign that shall guide its activities in the coming months.
One major means of advocacy shall be through the media in getting
to policy makers and the youth. In this regard, 'Curious Minds,'
a long standing media advocacy group of the Ghana Broadcasting
Cooperation, has been brought on board and a close working relationship
has been forged with them.
In our first meeting, GYP Ghana also developed
a national work plan and considered the current national policy
and funding environment with regards to HIV. Members have decided
to enlist more youth into the campaign. A major area of focus shall
also be lobbying government and politicians for greater commitment
in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and pushing for the integration
of sexual education in secondary schools. Also, members have taken
part in trainings to familiarise themselves with important declarations
on young people, reproductive health and HIV, such as UNGASS, ICPD,
Convention on the Rights of the Child. As part of our work plan, we hope
to make the commitments made in these documents explicit to many
more young people and enlist the government’s commitment
to the signed documents which seek to promote the welfare of the
youth in all areas.
In the coming months GYP Ghana hopes to continue in our efforts in
advocating for increased access to information, education and services
as a means to HIV prevention through the national workplan.
We believe that with increased access, young people of this nation
shall be in a good position to make better choices regarding their
sexual health. Youth constitute a great resource for development
today and especially in the future. The challenge is to enlist their
support as well provide the enabling environment in order to realise
their fullest potential and make practical contributions in this
—Etse Sikanku, 22, Ghana
will kill. Even though 5 million people are infected with HIV worldwide
every year, decision makers still don’t feel worried about
When I first became a Global Youth Partner, it was important for me to start
with an analysis of Egypt’s HIV/AIDS policy. GYP-Egypt made contact with
many successful advocacy campaigns to learn from their experiences, and I understood
that the job would not be easy and that I would need support.
Youth make up half of those being infected with HIV. This
puts them in a good position to be HIV advocates. This is why GYP expanded
to a team of talented youth volunteers who believe in change and want to serve
In our first meeting we tried to identify the magnitude of the HIV/AIDS problem
and our target group of decision makers. We identified three major problems:
- The misconception that Egypt is immune to HIV/AIDS.
- Misinformation about methods of protection and transmission.
- Stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS.
We divided the GYP team into three groups to tackle these issues:
We have created an e-forum where we discuss our plans, next steps and dreams.
The biggest goal now is to change the misconceptions among our community. But
to be successful we will need more training, effort, support, and trust in youth.
Let’s save our future.”
- The capacity building team is working to establish connections with
other NGOs, religious leaders, healthcare providers, media and government
decision-makers to detect our target groups. The team is now a member of
the national network of NGOs working against HIV/AIDS related to UNAIDS.
- The promotion team is responsible for promoting the campaign. We
have created an Arabic version of the GYP brochure, a national GYP logo,
and have designed our own website [http://www.gypegypt.org]
on all activities related to HIV/AIDS in Egypt.
- The research team has access to all studies conducted
in Egypt since
1986. The team is trying to establish a link between HIV and other problems
in the community such as the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and female genital mutilation
(FGM). The team is also summarizing books that discuss strategies of advocacy
as a resource for the team.
—Amr Awad, 25, Egypt
Global Youth Partners Initiative in the Dominican Republic (DR)
has set its goal towards increasing financial commitment for six
Youth Departments at the local level. The country is divided into
provinces, each containing its own municipality (local government
building). In about 14 of those municipalities, Youth Departments
have been opened. According to the law, the Youth Departments count
on 4% of the municipal budget. Our objective is to advocate for
the allocation of 1%, of the 4% assigned to the Youth Departments,
towards HIV prevention and sexual reproductive health services.
With the support of the UNFPA country office, we have formed
a GYP team, including youth from different parts of the country
as well as from different organizations, to work on the campaign.
We have held meetings to present what the GYP initiative is, the
current HIV/AIDS situation in the country, the goal of our campaign
in the DR and our next steps.
Currently we are conducting a thorough study on the youth departments
in order to choose six that fit best into the scope of the campaign.
In the meantime, the initiative is
focusing on building the capacity of the team. Recently, UNFPA DR held an advocacy
workshop with an international consultant, and 10 youth of the team participated.
We will be releasing a monthly newsletter with news of what the team is doing
for the campaign, for youth in general, and any other comments or stories pertaining
to youth and HIV/AIDS.”
—Elisabet Fadul, 18, Dominican Republic
“GYP Kenya seeks to strengthen the capacity
of Kenyan youth so that we are able to advocate for increased investment
in us as youth in the area of HIV prevention. This will go a long
way in ensuring that there is access to information, education
and services to all youth- especially underserved youth.
Our main targets are decision makers in terms of programmes, policies
and fundraising but I am first mobilizing support from other youths
as GYP Kenya is not me alone but the voice of all Kenyan Youth.
Currently I have started in Mombasa where I stay. We have an interim
committee that was selected by other youth during one of our meetings.
Our e-forum includes youth from all over the country. The e-forum
currently has 41 members, but GYP Kenya as a whole has a total
of 65 youth representing various youth groups, youth-serving organizations
and some individual members.
We are organizing several activities for International Youth Day
2004 to help us publicize the GYP initiative, and discuss, as Kenyan
youth, policies that concern us in our country and policies that
our country is a signatory to. We will have a chance to air our
concerns and what we feel needs to be done, and at the same time
rally support for ourselves in HIV prevention. We have invited
the Minister of Youth and the UNFPA Kenya Country Representative
as our guests of honour, and corporate bodies and other stakeholders
All this will go a long way in enabling us as Kenyan youth to
articulate our issues, let them be heard and follow up to ensure
that the pledges made on our behalf or by us are actually fulfilled.
This will contribute to the ongoing global commitment to ensure
youth participation in the prevention of HIV. We know that we are
not the problem but part of the solution, and so given the necessary
support from all the stakeholders we will surely reverse or halt
the spread of HIV amongst us.
Right now in Kenya we form approximately 50% of the 1.4 million
people living with HIV and AIDS, and we believe now more than ever
that, we have to make our voice be heard and let our actions be
seen. We are taking control of our lives and we appreciate the
role that adults play in our lives and all the goodwill they have
towards supporting us in the fight against HIV and AIDS. All we
ask is to be given the chance to take the lead — because
our life is in our hands, we make or break it.
Nothing for us or without us, because we will cast the winning dice
against HIV and AIDS.”
—Wakesho Peris, 22, Kenya
“Nigerian young people constitute about 40% of the total population,
representing about 36.5 million people. According to the Nigerian
STD/HIV Control and other government agencies, it is estimated
that 60% of new HIV infections occur among young people aged 17-25
and about 800 people in Nigeria get infected daily.
The reproductive needs of young people are relative to their behavioral
pattern. Many young people lack adequate information on issues
that affect their reproductive and sexual health. HIV/AIDS thrives
on misconception, ignorance and high-risk sexual behavior.
This is why GYP-Nigeria is embarking on an awareness campaign on
HIV/AIDS tagged “KEEP AIDS AT BAY”. The goal of this
project is to incorporate business organizations, private sectors
etc in Nigeria to create more awareness on HIV/AIDS to the general
public by supporting outreach programmes, providing affordable youth
friendly health services, producing Information, Education and Behavior
Change materials targeted at young people who are the most affected
group by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.”
—Eunice Aghete, 19, Nigeria