At the start of this year, youth belonging to Missionary Youth Movement (MYM) had the opportunity to attend a two-day AJAN HIV and AIDS Prevention Program for the Youth (AHAPPY) seminar which was held from 11th to 12th January 2023 at St. Andrews Catholic Church-Gitothua in Ruiru, Kenya.
The seminar brought together a huge number of youths. Day one of the seminar, 62 MYM members who were present got to learn new aspects that touched on self–awareness, self–empowerment teamwork, stress management and relationships. While in day two 13 more participants joined making the total number of those who attended the seminar to rise to 75 MYM members.
Participants were taken through Sexual transmitted Infections (STIs), HIV and AIDS from the invited African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN) facilitator Mr. Steve Arodi, Ms. Esther Muthoni and Mr. Anthony Wambugu who are both MYM animators.
On the second day the participants were trained about relationships, where the youth engaged the facilitators and asked questions on issues that affected them day to day life. While expounding on the said topic; the facilitators got to share with the youth on the topic of Sexual relations where they pointed out the importance of abstinence and that involvement in sexual practices leads to early teenage pregnancies and sexual transmitted diseases (STDs).
In a bid to make the session interesting and enjoyable the youth were involved in fun-building activities made of dramatic plays and songs. The youth were divided into different groups where they competed favorably.
Mark Newton Ngugi’s experience, “The seminar was very involving as the facilitators answered all questions posed to them. The youth were engaged on activities where we were educated on virtues of love for one another, teamwork, healthy social relations, being always assertive, to listen and appreciate opinion from one another and build on our creativity.”
Jamie Ann wambui one of the youths who participated in the seminar gives us a review of the lessons and values got from the two-day training sessions, she says,
“We had a session where we trained on stress management, and we learnt that stress is an emotional, physical and psychological imbalance in one’s mind and that there is positive stress, which drives you to achieve something that you really want through undertaking activities such as praying and there is negative stress that forces you to undertake some action which are not helpful but will help you relieve that pressure on your mind such as undergoing self-harm and taking of alcohol.“
Bernard another youth participant says,
“The two-day seminar was very influential to the life of all the young people that attended, we appreciate the AJAN facilitators that took us through the training. About my personal experience of the training is that I became aware of stress management issues and the problem that we, as youth, are facing. I was also informed how HIV/AIDS is transmitted through the dramatized plays that we presented during the session, my gratitude goes to the Church and the organizers of the youth seminar.”
At the end of the training Mr. Steve Arodi, AJAN facilitator had this to say, “The seminar was very interactive, and the participants were taken through relevant activities that effectively delivered the expected learning outcome. The facilitators proved to be effective and managed the time very well.”
The MYM members are grateful to the Church leadership for inviting the facilitators who took them through the two-day training. Mark Newton Ngugi and his fellow colleagues will be looking forward to the next training come next school holiday to learn more of what AHAPPY program entails.
Mark Newton Ngugi,