Asian Christian youth help prevention of HIV/AIDS

By Matters India Reporter
Manado: A two-day programme to motivate selected young Asians on HIV and AIDS was held in conjunction with the Asian Ecumenical Youth Assembly (AEYA) at Manado in the North Sulawesi Province, Indonesia.

Twenty participants specially selected from among the participants of the AEYA attend the April-5-6 event.

The AEYA, a major ecumenical youth event with the participation of 350 young people across Asia, will be held at the Grand Kawanua International Convention Centre at Manado from 7 to 13 April.

Moving away from the traditional programmes of youth conferences, the pre-AEYA event concentrates on team-based activities and informal discussions within the group to get important messages across on how young people should be serious about the pandemic HIV and AIDS.

Various sessions with a focus on enabling the participants were connected with their peer groups at a personal level in order to communicate the message of youth advocacy to combating HIV and AIDS.

Participants, divided into four groups, were given the assignment of forming a Bible passage into a movie, complete with a ‘title’ and a ‘poster.’ Interestingly, the four groups chose to focus on four different aspects of the same story, thus generating their interests into high gear during the discussions.

One of the most eagerly participated sessions was a quiz on HIV and AIDS. The four teams were given a set of eight controversial statements and they had to agree, disagree or partially agree with it and state reasons for their choice. The multi-directional approach promoted debate among participants, leading to a far better understanding of the topics discussed.

Wapangyingla Ao, who has experience in educating people about HIV and AIDS, said the methodology used at the pre-AEYA youth event gave her food for thought.

“All the HIV and AIDS seminars I attended in the past were presentation-oriented sessions. But the highly interactive style of the Youth Motivation Programme was fresh and effective,” said Wapangyingla.

Another participant Amelia Yerikho, who studies International Business Administration at the Sam Ratulangi University in Manado, said she was gaining a much better understanding of HIV and AIDS, and its widespread.

“The first time I heard about HIV and AIDS was at high school, as part of my studies. But the knowledge I had about it was superficial. The Youth Motivation Programme gave me a much deeper understanding of the problem,” Amelia said.

The pre-AEYA event is being organized as part of the Acting Together in Combating HIV and AIDS in Asia (ATCHAA) programme of Christian Conference of Asia, an ecumenical body.

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