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HIV Sensitization and Integral Formation for the Youth Leaders-The Catholic Diocese of Homabay

The African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN) in collaboration with the Catholic Diocese of Homabay undertook AJAN HIV and AIDS Prevention Programme for the Youth (AHAPPY) Training of Trainers (ToT) from the 23rd to 27th of May 2023 at St. Paul of the Cross, Passionist Retreat Center-Golgotha Community, Karungu town, Kenya. The training was targeted at undertaking HIV sensitization and holistic development of the youth leaders where the would be socially, emotionally, physically, intellectually and spiritually empowered.

Welcoming the AJAN facilitator was Fr. Tom Joseph Mboya, Education Secretary, Catholic Diocese of Homabay and Fr. Patrick Marcelin Ochieng, youth Chaplain Catholic Diocese of Homabay. The AJAN facilitators included; Ms. Pascalia Sergon, Mr. Dennis Owuoche, Dr. Julia Ngalula and Ms. Mary Wanjogu.

AJAN facilitators ((from left to right) Mr. Dennis Owuoche, Ms. Mary Wanjugu. Dr. Julia Ngalula, Ms. Pascalia Sergon) and Fr. Tom Joseph Mboya, Education Secretary, Catholic Diocese of Homabay (White Coat)
AJAN Facilitators: Ms. Pascalia and Dr. Julia Ngalula together with Fr. Patrick Marcelin Ochieng, youth Chaplain Catholic Diocese of Homabay (Center).

The training that was attended by 14 youth leaders selected from different deaneries within the Catholic Diocese of Homabay was targeted at providing participants with spiritual nourishment, adequate knowledge, attitudes and risk perception toward HIV & STIs prevention practices, Maternal & Child Health and Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission.

The training allowed the participants to realize afresh their pre-conceived ideas of what they think best practices and attitudes are, these included ideas or questions needing answers that they were not aware of just yet. Participants needed to realize God has empowered every person differently with talents and abilities they have, and they were required to use them to empower themselves and take care of the world they live in.

Ms. Mary Wanjogu, AJAN facilitator during a session on integral formation of the young people

The youth leaders in attendance highlighted that the youths that live within the Catholic Diocese of Homabay were facing a myriad of problems such as unemployment, lack of self-awareness and self-actualization, uncertainty and emotional anxieties, alcohol and drug abuse, High infection of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, youth violence, and lack of formal and informal education.

Participants follow the training session

Though the challenges faced by the youth of today are challenges that either break them or make them, Pope Benedict saw the youth as young people who yearned for happiness: “In every period of history, including our own, many young people experience a deep desire for personal relationships marked by truth and solidarity. Many of them yearn to build authentic friendships, to know true love, to start a family that will remain united, to achieve personal fulfillment and real security, all of which are the guarantee of a serene and happy future.”

Participants took part in group discussion where they brainstormed on how the youth can take part in HIV sensitization in their communities
Participants took part in group discussion where they brainstormed on how the youth can take part in HIV sensitization in their communities

At the end of the 5-day training here is what some of the participants shared with us.

“I am happy to have been one of the young people that took part in this training, the training was an eye opener for me, they are many things that we as youth go through, but the trainers have made us to realize that us as youth leaders can take the leading role in the fight against HIV in Homabay County, it is hurting to know that the county we are in is among the counties with high HIV infection rate and to reduce the number we need first to start by engaging the young people, through initiating entrepreneurial activities that will keep the young people engaged, so that they can have avenues in which they can earn some income through the church.”

-Vivian Adhiambo,
Youth leader, Rongo Emmaus Catholic Parish, Rapogi deanery, Catholic Diocese of Homabay.

” I was seriously enlightened on issues that affect the young people, and the topic that really captured my interest was the topic on HIV and STIs and by understanding the World we live in. We are living in a toxic world, that needs serious care and the youth need to play a huge role by being informed, enlightened and empowered. Through that I believe the youth have a bigger role to play when it comes to the fight against HIV even though we are faced by many problems as young people such as Peer pressure drug abuse with some going through depression and stress. Personally I believe the training has been an eye-opener, as I go back to my deanery, the first thing will be to share what I have learnt here with my fellow youths.”

-Geoffrey Onyango Mboya Youth leader,
Asumbi deanery, Catholic Diocese of Homabay.
Dr. Julie Ngalula, one of the AJAN facilitators with the participants during a presentation session

AJAN recognizes the positive impact of young people on the church and societies and through this undertaking of integral formation of the young people in the Catholic Diocese of Homabay AJAN works to fulfill the mission of the Church and Society of Jesus.

Ms. Pascali Sergon, AJAN Facilitator hands over AHAPPY manual to Fr. Tom Joseph Mboya

The third of the new universal apostolic preferences advocates us all in accompanying young people and the creation of open spaces in society and in the church with them and for them, which is in line with Father General Arturo Sosa words, ‘Our works seek to be spaces open to youthful creativity, spaces that both foster an encounter with the God of life revealed by Jesus and deepen the Christian faith of the young. Such spaces should help young people discern the path by which they can achieve happiness by contributing to the well-being of all humankind.’

Also Read Testimonials from the training:



By Dennis Owuoche,

AJAN Communications Officer

Ismael Matambura



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