We have all learnt that health pandemics require communities to come together to spread awareness and curb misinformation. Empowering our communities to be informed contributes to fighting stigma , to supporting friends, family and neighbours, and to encouraging positive behaviours.
The World Health Organisation’s theme for World AIDS Day 2023 “Let Communities Lead” is an acknowledgement of the role communities play. With the ongoing gender-based inequalities, violence, substance abuse, exclusion and discrimination we see within our neighbourhoods, many children and young people are at an increased risk of acquiring HIV.
Developing local leaders who make good life choices and who do their best to lead and serve by example, is part and parcel of the aims of Scouting. For years SCOUTS South Africa has been implementing HIV & AIDS peer to peer awareness and behavioral change programmes where youth share factual information and facilitate discussions with their peers, while promoting gender sensitization and building resilience amidst participating adolescents.
The “Scouting and AIDS” programme allows young people to come together in a safe space to ask the questions they have, and to get real and factual answers. By engaging, having the conversation, and enabling self-confidence, we can help our young members to identify negative situations and be able to verbalize the word “no” when needed. In turn, they go back to their neighbourhoods and lead by example.
Today on World AIDS Day we want to reiterate the importance of creating safe places for youth to discuss their roles in leading the way forward. It is after all our youth that will need to bring about social change and address the spread and the stigma around the HIV & AIDS pandemic.
#SDG5 #SDG3 #WorldAidsDay #GlobalGoals #YouthEmpowerment #PeerEducation #Dialogue #resilience #LetCommunitiesLead #leadershipgoals #havetheconversation