Africa is the world’s youngest continent with over 400 million people between the ages of 15 and 35. The population is growing.
Young people are struggling to find the meaning of their lives and “there is a growing inter-generational cut-throat finger pointing between the adults and young people on who is responsible for the falling away of young people from places of worship and escalating of cases of the number of teenagers seeking and accessing drugs and engaging in uncontrolled drinking and sexual activities.
According to a study done in Africa, Researchers investigating knowledge of HIV transmission among 17-to-24-year-olds found that just over half of young people were aware of HIV prevention (54 per cent females and 55 per cent males). It is because of this that we continue to encourage the need for continuous awareness campaign of the HIV pandemic and to enlighten young people and adults about the importance of changing risk-taking behavior and avoiding risky exposure.
Equipping children and young people with knowledge on HIV, their sexuality and health is aimed at enabling them to acquire positive attitudes and values that will empower them to realize their sexual and reproductive health well-being and rights; through this education, children get to develop healthy interpersonal relationships; reflect on the impact of their choices on self and societal well-being; and secure and protect themselves throughout their lives.
But in providing this form of education, Jesuits in Africa advocate for the faith- and culture-based approaches where we believe that sexuality education should impart cultural and religious “moralistic” views on sexuality with the purpose of preventing adolescents and young people from engaging in premarital or extramarital sex.
On 25th May 2023 as African Nations celebrated The African day; AJAN believes in the youth as development drivers and therefore the youth need to be provided with a basis to develop themselves through provision of better health care services and supporting young people from the grassroot level to make use of available resources to better their lives.
AJAN continues to invest in youth by encouraging the church, society, and young people to have dialogue. This will contribute significantly to a renewed Africa where young people get to change their behavior by focusing on Christ and through Spiritual depth they get to manifest and appreciate life as a gift from God. The source of every life, God calls each human being to keep their body and mind clean and holy. “Do you not know that you are the Temple of God, and that The Spirit of God dwells within you?” (1Cor 3.16). It is an invitation to care for our body, love it, protect it protect one another and promote what contribute to our flourishing and wellbeing.
In this month’s issue, we give you updates of the AHAPPY Training of Trainers for the youth leaders from the Catholic Diocese of Homabay in Kenya, “AJAN Youth-for-Youth initiative” projects carried out by the Youth at Chikuni Home Based Care (CHBC) in Zambia, Centre information, d’Education et d’Ecoute du Centre Catholique Universitaire (CIEE/CCU) in the Central African Republic, etc.
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By, Dennis Owuoche,
AJAN Communications Officer