*(International projects only)
Throughout the sub-Sahara region, HIV has spread at an alarming rate and more particularly among the youth. According to the City Assembly’s Aid Coordinating Committee, 21.4% of the Mzuzu residents live with HIV/AIDS. Since approximately 64% of the country’s population is below the age of 18, it is essential to help the youth in particular to avoid being infected with the virus. Hence the reason for project: “Youth Alive, Malwai.”
The Youth Alive movement was initiated in Uganda. In 1988 by two sisters who saw the need to protect the youth against HIV/AIDS. The movement soon spread throughout that country as well as other surrounding countries. In 1999, the movement was introduced to Malawi by the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (MSIC). After more than 50 years in Africa, the sisters continue to renew their commitment “to witness to the love of Christ and to cooperate with local Churches in the mission of proclaiming the Good News and making visible the Kingdom of God.”
Young people are not just the future, they are the present. The education of young people is key to preventing the spread of HIV, especially in African countries like Malawi where 14.2% of the population (ages 15 to 49) are HIV positive. The main goal of the Youth Alive Malawi (YAM) project, therefore, is to encourage youth to develop convictions that will help them make appropriate decisions and choices in relation to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. This is accomplished by:
- Providing youth with the opportunity to learn about our Education for Life workshops which aim to involve the young people in a behavior change process based on values and attitudes
- Assisting youth in establishing youth groups through which they will gain knowledge that will help them develop a realistic view of moral and social responsibility
- Educating youth by heightening their awareness of the extent and dangers of the HIV/AIDS pandemic
Sustainability Measures: Some efforts have been made to establish income-generating activities such as the raising of chickens and tailoring for profit. After each training workshop or seminar, a day is planned for the facilitators to evaluate and monitor the activities and choose among the possible leaders for future training. Moreover, Executive Committees meet on a regular basis to plan, organize, and evaluate the activities of Youth Alive at national or local levels.