The one year H.I.V and G.B.V. (Gender based violence) prevention program that was put in place by UNICEF and GHDF last year is approaching completion, but the team on the ground is still working hard to reach as many adolescents as possible with their services and messages. This program is targeting adolescents from 10 to 19 years of age in Nyamagabe and Musanze districts.
The first phase consisted of training 20 HIV volunteers per sector (440 volunteers in total). Their task was to find strategies to mobilize the youth and sensitize them on HIV, GBV and the importance of prevention. Along with distributing leaflets, and condoms, one of the prevention methods encouraged by the medical community is medical male circumcision. During the second phase of the program, Health centers were selected, trained and given the necessary training to carry out these operations. The third and last phase focuses on vocational counselling and testing (V.C.T.) in the 22 targeted sectors. With the help of medical staff from designated Health Centers, the team travels to rural areas with their “mobile clinic” in order to reach adolescents for whom it is difficult to access these services and information.
With the approbation of local authorities, GHDF has been allowed to enter school institutions for this final phase, educating the youth, testing the voluntary candidates and giving them counselling as they receive their results.
So far, the HIV volunteers have reached their target by sensitizing more than 150, 000 adolescents through community based educational activities and various cultural and sports events. More than 12, 000 have been tested for H.I.V and more than 2000 have been circumcised !
Talking with the beneficiaries and the local authorities, we can feel that our efforts and our services are appreciated, and that we are having a positive impact on these communities. Let’s keep it up !