Pope Francis’ conditional seal of approval of the internet comes as AJAN prepares to launch a webpage for young people as part of its AHAPPY package. Pauline Wanjau, AHAPPY manager, writes:
The AJAN HIV & AIDS Prevention Program for Youth (AHAPPY), a successful package of educational material that focuses on the integral development of young people, will launch its webpage as part of the AJAN site in March 2014. The webpage will be an online resource platform for young people, where they will be able to look for and get support where and when they need it – as long as they have an internet connection. This is the beauty of the internet: it makes information immediately and easily accessible 24/7.
The AHAPPY webpage will feature accurate facts about HIV/AIDS as well as stories and videos that help young people to realise when a small problem might be becoming a big one. And there will be tips on how to sort things out. Tools and apps will help them build on their strengths and develop their skills, and blogs will offer the opportunity to connect and interact with others. In short, when answers are in short supply, the webpage will be a place for young people to turn to find reassurance, guidance and the support of their peers.
For us at AHAPPY, making the best possible use of the internet is crucial because it is simply such a powerful platform that has a profound impact on all areas of life, including health-related behaviours and attitudes. As facilitators or simply as young people who want to influence their peers, we can tap into this platform to bring about positive changes in behaviour and attitudes.
Some girls who recently had an AHAPPY workshop at school did precisely this. Part of the AHAPPY session at the Loreto Convent Girls High School in Matunda focused on recognising that I am the beloved creature of God. Right after the session, some students built a Facebook page with a wonderful video, which can be viewed here.
And in another exciting development, AJAN is teaming up with a US-based company PY1 to create a virtual environment for AHAPPY, where its topics and key messages can be absorbed and shared online and via smartphones through a variety of interactive tools. PY1 uses innovative, media-savvy strategies to disseminate effective awareness and prevention messages about HIV and sexually transmitted infections. The company will provide the technical know-how and support to AJAN to take this important step that will make the content of AHAPPY more accessible to young people anywhere at any time.