Lisa – South Africa
A SERIES OF INTERVIEWS WITH YOUNG PEOPLE FOR WORLD DEVELOPMENT INFORMATION DAY 2013
For World Development Information Day 2013, AVERT interviewed a selection of young people from around the globe, getting them to reflect on the HIV/AIDS development challenges in their country.
As supporters of AVERT’s Get Plugged In campaign, our interviewees are part of a network of well-informed young people, aged 18-25, that explore HIV and AIDS issues in our private Get Plugged In forum.
The UN theme for World Development Information Day, celebrated annually on October 24th, concentrates on: “Improving the dissemination of information and the mobilisation of public opinion, particularly among young people…”
Applying this theme to HIV and AIDS, we asked our Get Plugged In members how technology improves access to HIV/AIDS information and awareness of HIV/AIDS development challenges.
See all interviews below.
Lisa's organisation, the Department of Social Responsibility (South Africa), plays a key role in developing the community at large, by delivering a number of different projects, such as, couples fellowships and forums for men. As part of the girls and boys club, Lisa is a peer leader for fellow teens from across sixteen, often rural-based, schools. Her work focuses on empowering youth in aspects like sex education, HIV and AIDS, prevention, self-love and self-development.
We educate young people and there are trainings to train these teens to actually know and understand HIV. We work with young people to change their attitude towards HIV and to make sure that they are ready for the world We have done training namely: counselling, body wise, use of female condoms, rape crisis, ARV use and HIV, sign language. Many more of these aim to make sure that teens are developed and ready to face the world, with knowledge and understanding of HIV.
HIV is one of the topics that I think people are informed about, and it is done very well in schools. Children from the ages of 10 grow to understand that it is no longer a challenge but part of life. But the main challenge is that most children in my country do not get sex education from parents. Most parents see talking about using a condom or HIV and AIDS as a stigma so most teens end up making mistakes, such as getting pregnant and at the same time getting HIV. Other challenges are that the mentality and attitude that they have is that HIV and AIDS are a part of life skills and take it as if it is part of school. I think lack of ideas and things to do ends up being the main problem for them and they feel that HIV is a bore and do not find interest in the manner in which the information is given to them.
I think technology has done so much in making sure that young people are informed, but where I am from most people cannot access technology. Most teens use the bit of technology access that they have to chat with friends. As for adverts, they are one of the least things that you can ever see. Even on TV, it’s rare to see an advert. Mostly it’s alcohol adverts everywhere, that's why teens see alcohol as part of entertainment, in fact the only entertainment they have. Condoms are given free at clubs and pubs here, because organisations feel that they are the only places were you can find most teens.
I would do a teen project that would have dialogues and activities, such as doing plays, singing and performing, painting and going out for trips. This would attract young people and mostly make them understand and learn about HIV and AIDS in a fun and innovative way, so that they can find things to commit to and at the same time have a better understanding of HIV. I would make a teen centre where teens have the chance to access internet, chill, access testing and counselling, do arts and get help. This would make accessing information easy and much more fun for teens, it could also involve debates, dialogue, and group ventures this would make and attract them and build their self-esteem.
This piece forms part of a collection of inspiring and insightful interviews. 'Reflections on the Epidemic' , a series of interviews from young people for World Development Information Day 2013, tap into the opinions and perspectives of young people on HIV and AIDS from four regions across the globe.
All opinions expressed in 'Reflections on the Epidemic' do not necessarily represent those of AVERT.