French
Portuguese

World AIDS Day 2013: Engage young people in the struggle against AIDS

A message from Fr Michael Lewis SJ, President of JESAM (Jesuit Superiors of Africa and Madagascar)

Young people need to feel part of the struggle against AIDS and to be empowered with the confidence, values, skills and knowledge to make a valuable contribution.

As the international community marks World AIDS Day on 1 December, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has drawn attention to the vulnerability of adolescents to HIV infection.In 2012, there were 2.1 million adolescents living with HIV worldwide.

The African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN) strongly believes that value-based education is a pivotal element in controlling HIV among this vulnerable age group. AJAN coordinates the AIDS programmes run by Jesuits and their co-workers across sub-Saharan Africa, including many implemented in schools and educational centres run by the Jesuit order, which has a renowned pedagogical tradition.

With their rich experience in education, the Jesuits are ideally placed to organise HIV prevention programmes for youth. However, we have realised that prevention campaigns alone are not enough, and sometimes actually put young people off, because they feel they are hearing the same old thing again and again. We have learned that we constantly need to be creative and to reach out in a youth-friendly way.

The successful programmes are those that encourage young people to think critically and equip them with the 'tools' to act: to make responsible choices, to respond with compassion to the needs around them, and to make a real difference.

In 2012, AJAN launched an innovative programme for Jesuit schools and educational centres called the AJAN HIV&AIDS Prevention Programme for Youth (AHAPPY). Adapting principles of Jesuit pedagogy and spirituality for teenagers, the AHAPPY programme tackles HIV prevention in the context of integral personal development. Young people are guided to view themselves in relation to self, others, God and creation. The means used include life-skills, peer education, creative activities like drama, and Catholic Church teaching.

Critically, the programme has been designed in the belief that young people are active agents in their own formation. This is perhaps the most valuable lesson we have learned in years of doing HIV prevention among youth. We need to harness the enthusiasm and potential of young people to make a real difference. Their gifts can truly enhance education campaigns to make inroads in the steep HIV prevalence rates that threaten them. The only way to address HIV/AIDS is comprehensively, by making prevention part of a wider search for personal wholeness.

To read this message in French, please go here.

Latest News

  • Young Adolescents Sensitized on HIV in Kayole’s Soweto in Nairobi’s Informal Settlement

    Forty two young adolescents and youth aged 9 and 20 years from Bethsaida children Centre and Imani Children Home were mentored on peer influence, making responsible choices and HIV and AIDS in a one day workshop in Kayole Soweto...Read More

     
  • Religious Leaders Commemorate Universal Children’s Day in Kenya

    AJAN, together with religious leaders from different faith backgrounds, children and youth were brought together for an interfaith breakfast meeting to reflect on pediatric HIV and Tuberculosis (TB) prevention, testing and Treatment...Read More

     
  • Meet Fr. Védaste Nkeshimana, the New Director of Service Yezu Mwiza, Burundi

    The new Director of Service Yezu Mwiza (SYM), Fr. Védaste NKESHIMANA, SJ describes himself as a simple person who loves truthfulness. He would do anything in his power to avoid any form of injustice especially to the poor and vulnerable population...Read More

     
  • Testimonies of HIV Positive Teens Effective amongst Teen Peers at St. Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School, Kibera Slums-Nairobi

    John is 17 years old, HIV positive and living positively. He has lived with the virus since childhood. He gladly shares about his life experiences living with the virus...Read More

     
  • The Centre Culturel Loyola (CCL) and Centre Espérance Loyola (CEL) in Lome, Togo Have a New Director Fr. Desiré Yamuremye

    Lome-Togo: September, 2018: Appointed by the Provincial of West Africa in accordance with the Regional Superior of Rwanda-Burundi Region, Fr. Desiré Yamuremye is now the new Director of CEL ... Read More


  • Teens' Sharing on HIV and AIDS at St. Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School in Nairobi


  • Religious Leaders Commemorate Universal Children's Day in Kenya 


  • AJAN HIV and AIDS Prevention Programme (AHAPPY) training in Nairobi's Urban Informal Settlement in Kayole-Soeto
     
     
     

About AJAN

Jesuits across sub-Saharan Africa reach out daily to people affected by AIDS and seek to prevent the spread of HIV. The African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN) coordinates their efforts, inspired by the vision: Empowered individuals, families, and communities working towards an HIV and AIDS free society and fullness of life (cfr John 10:10)