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  • Centre Espérance Loyola, Lomé, Togo (Darrin Zammit Lupi/AJAN)

  • Mirror of Hope, Kibera, Kenya (Darrin Zammit Lupi/AJAN)

  • CVX, Kigali, Rwanda (Darrin Zammit Lupi/AJAN)

Latest News

  • Burundi: What is the most important thing?

    The Service Yezu Mwiza (SYM) came as an offshoot of a former AIDS project of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in Burundi. Now, as a project of the Jesuit Region of Rwanda-Burundi, we are celebrating 10 years of service, accompaniment and life in the midst of people living with HIV... Read more

     
  • From death to life

    My name is Peter. I am an alumnus of this university. I have been living with HIV for the last 17 years and I am still going strong... Read more

     
  • All you need is love

    I am Rodah, I got to know AJAN 10 years ago. I met AJAN at a time when I needed help and when my family and the community, where I was living, had already neglected and rejected me. Read more... 

     
  • The war isn't over yet

    The war against AIDS hasn’t been won yet. Much has been done, but there still more to do, and it ought to be done in a better way, possibly the best. This call to sustained action to fight AIDS emerged during an assembly of several days that was held in Nairobi by AJAN... Read more

     
  • We'll be the last to quit the scene

    “What are you going to Kenya to do? To discuss with people there about the lack of resources to support people living with HIV, like me? Tell them this: if I am alive today, it is because I was lucky to be brought from a distant village to this town, and to get help from you... Read more

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)

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.