22 July 2004
The fight against HIV/AIDS can only be won if youth participation is fully integrated in all intervention strategies, with effective collaboration among all organisations and parties involved.
|"This disease can destroy the very fabric of the Commonwealth."|
Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Florence Mugasha made this point ahead of a workshop organised by the Africa Centre of the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP) on 26 July 2004.
The 'East African Sub-Regional Workshop on Integrating Youth Issues and Youth Participation in HIV/AIDS Planning and Programming', due to take place in Mahé, Seychelles, will bring together participants from the Commonwealth Secretariat, the United Nations and other international organisations to share ideas and experiences. The workshop aims to devise strategies for greater integration between youth development activities and HIV/AIDS programmes, enhancing the active participation of young people in intervention initiatives and bringing about an effective partnership between all groups working in this field.
Mrs Mugasha stressed that HIV/AIDS is one of the most serious issues threatening the lives of young people and the crisis has reached a very alarming scale in Africa. She noted: "This disease can destroy the very fabric of the Commonwealth, for which young people are crucial development partners, and the world at large. This threat can only be defeated if youth participation is effectively integrated in all HIV/AIDS interventions and if there is a concerted effort among governments, civil society, international agencies and young people. The Seychelles workshop will examine ways of bringing about greater collaboration in this regard."
The Deputy Secretary-General commended the Youth Ambassadors for Positive Living (YAPL) programme, pioneered by the CYP Africa Centre, which is based in Lusaka, Zambia. YAPL is an innovation that supports youth participation in the fight against HIV/AIDS. These Ambassadors are HIV positive young people who work with their peers to educate them about HIV/AIDS issues and provide them with support and counselling. CYP Africa Centre initiated the YAPL programme in 1993, and its success has led to it being replicated in other CYP regions. The workshop on 26 July will look at how the programme can be further enhanced and strengthened.
CNIS - the Commonwealth News and Information Service Issue 193 21 July 2004