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HOME: POPULATION ISSUES: PREVENTING HIV INFECTION: Global Youth Partners
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Country Highlights

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

“In 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 in Ghana.

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, and the 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 new century.”

—Etse Sikanku, 22, Ghana


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EGYPT

“Ignorance will kill. Even though 5 million people are infected with HIV worldwide every year, decision makers still don’t feel worried about HIV/AIDS.

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 their community.

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:

  • 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 on HIV/AIDS 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.
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.”

—Amr Awad, 25, Egypt


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DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

“The 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


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KENYA

“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 as guests.

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


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NIGERIA

“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


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