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Zimbabwe: Be switched on!

Time Baluwa, IYD

Over 400 young people from 14 schools gathered on 1 December to mark World AIDS Day at the Young People Making a Difference (YPMD) Expo 2016.

The YPMD Expo was held at St Peter’s Kubatana High School in Highfield, a high-density suburb of Harare. It is an annual event organized by Integral Youth Development (IYD), the successor of the former Jesuit AIDS Project (JAP) and part of the Youth Office of the Jesuit Province of Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

This year, the event served as a good opportunity to launch a three-year campaign, “Be switched on”, which invites young people to do more for themselves, others and the environment. The campaign focuses on four areas: health, social justice, leadership and ecology.

Through the focus on health, the campaign seeks to make young people aware of prevailing obstacles to their development, including HIV, other sexually transmitted infections and ‘lifestyle’ diseases that are caused by bad behavioural practices like substance, drug and alcohol abuse.

The focus on social justice seeks to encourage youth to be “men and women for others”, by promoting actions towards caring for family, friends and community. This focus has a special emphasis on those who are poor, sick and marginalized.

The aim of the annual Expo is to bring together young people who are in the Youth Against AIDS movement, a project run by IYD, to celebrate their achievements and efforts in contributing to the development of a better world for everyone. Among this year’s exhibits were herbs from students’ herbal gardens, visuals from the conducted environmental management initiatives, and reports of awareness campaigns.

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