On 18th March 2023, 150 youths from Lanet deanery, Catholic diocese of Nakuru, Kenya, converged together at St. Pauls Wanyororo for their first deanery youth mass and seminar.
Having attended a 5-day AHAPPY seminar hosted by African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN) in November 2022, the trained youth leaders from the deanery; Magdalene Wanjiru, Catherine Kamau, Moses Muhia and Michael Maero used the seminar to talk to their fellow youths on the knowledge that had been passed on to them. The two-hour seminar was done based on the current societal problem that is now affecting the youth and the community in general. Participants were made aware of the effects of HIV, HOMOSEXUALITY and LGBTQ to the young people.
The session began with the facilitator covering topics on Lesbians Gays Bisexuals Transgender and Queers (LGBTQ+). It was highlighted on a medical nature that how we grow could really help influence our sexuality, which is part of the stages of psychosocial development for every being. The effects of said engagements were highlighted as below:
- Contraction of Sexually Transmitted Infections.
- Segregation from the community.
- Contraction of anal and cervical cancers etc.
It was also highlighted that Nakuru the county and city we live in has an abnormal spike in HIV/AIDS infection from 26% to 33% in the last few months and the most affected group are the youth who make up a huge percentage. Participants were encouraged to practice abstinence as the main way to stop the spread of the virus and take HIV test to know their status and ensure that they are faithfully to one partner.
Anne Muthoni a participant at the youth seminar from St. Simon and Jude parish said, “I am glad for the session we had, it was fruitful and I have been made to understand more on homosexuality and the role I play in it. I thank Magdalene Wanjiru for the informative session and the deanery office at large for the planning and execution.”
Augustine Maranga a participant from St. Monica Lanet parish said, “I had thought that the homosexuality session would be like all the others but I am glad of the new information I have received especially how important our growth is to who we turn out to be later on in our youthful years.”
James Mwangi from St. Peters parish, Kiptangwanyi said, “HIV/AIDS is a pandemic in our peers and I am glad that I have realized just how intense it is in our county. What I have learnt today I will put into practice and I will share the knowledge with my group back at our parish.”
The session was wide enough to cover what was taught to us at our leaders training at St Mary’s. We engaged participants on topics that touched on emotional intelligence and awareness as well as the sexually transmitted diseases. We would like to thank the whole AJAN fraternity and our main facilitator Magdalene Wanjiru, because without you all we would not have made this seminar a success.
Commissioned AHAPPY Youth Trainer,
Lanet Deanery, Catholic Diocese of Nakuru