From October 30th to November 3rd, 2023, AHAPPY training of trainers (ToT) was held at the “Paam Yondo” spiritual center in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, for the benefit of young people, educators, parents, etc. The training went very well, in a good atmosphere.
For my part, I would like to say thank you to the initiators of the AHAPPY program, thank you to AJAN, to the entire Jesuit community, and thank you to the Association of Volunteers of Hope (ABE) for this opportunity that has been offered to me. Thank you also to the trainers for their commitment and the enriching content of their presentations. This training was welcomed, given the multifaceted context experienced by our African countries and Burkina Faso in particular where we have higher percentage of young population, made up of different cultures, religion, ideology, coupled with the reality of STIs, etc.
In terms of how the training was conducted. The methods used to deliver the content were very participatory, with group work, exchange sessions, and idea sharing. The game sequences were welcome, fun and very relaxing. The video sequences were the immersion in the reality of the facts. The prayers were very simple, unifying; although there were many binding confessions in attendance, it was not felt in any way.
TONTEPAMBO S. Roger together with colleagues during AHAPPY ToT group discussion session
Through this training I was able to acquire new knowledge. The outline of the program; the awakening of consciousness allowed me to become aware that I am a creature, so loved by God; God created the world, heaven and earth and everything in them, then created me and entrusted the whole creature to me. We are therefore a gift to the world, although the world is entrusted to us, we are to master it through work. By us being created and loved by God, God sees in us the ability to transform the world, to continue the work of creation that is His, through our intelligence and creativity. God has given us talents, gifts that we must develop, value and use, live with prudence, discernment and responsibility. Awareness also requires an inventory of the problems facing the world, and for us that live in Africa we are faced with wars, famines, violence, pandemics, STIs, drugs, unemployment, etc. All these evils that undermine our societies make it difficult to achieve peace in the world. However, this world of evil is not the one that God intended when he created the world, and man. All of this happened through our choices, our decisions. But God in his infinite goodness has redeemed the world through his Son, who inspires us to work in the direction of restoring, reconciling and saving the world. We have also seen the 5 dimensions of man, social, spiritual, emotional, physical and intellectual, which must be constantly developed in order to achieve a balance in life.
In addition, the training allowed us to have a somewhat in-depth knowledge of STIs, some of which until now was unknown to the public, and to myself. We did also learn about the means of transmission of these STIs, the risk factors and the means of prevention or treatment. The training gave us the knowledge that from birth to old age to adolescence, we go through stages in which we can be positively or negatively affected depending on the environment in which we evolve. In turn, we too, as individuals or as a society, also take actions, sometimes in a trivial way, but which impact people in these age groups. Acquired skills in personal development, mentoring and leadership, will enable us to better support young people. With the tools and methods of approach that we have acquired as peer educators what remains to be done is to put into practice what has been learned in the field. This will allow me to know, how to approach, understand and accompany young people or anyone in vulnerable situations.
When it comes to the implementation of everything we have learned, we have an action plan in place at the individual level which consists of popularizing the knowledge learned, talking about it in our most restricted environments such as the family, the office, as well as in our circles of friends. This work has already begun, as of November 4th, the day after the end of the formation, we participated in a monthly meeting of young people at the presbytère de la paroisse Ste Monique de Sandogo. During the meeting, everyone was given the floor to give updates of their activities, their entourage, etc. we took the opportunity to talk about the AHAPPY program. The young people and the sisters accompanying the group were interested in it and wanted the group to get the formation in February and March 2024. Personally, I talked about the program in my exchanges with my boss in the office, who then asked me to share the content of the training with the office staff. I hosted a 3-hour mini-talk on the AHAPPY program on November 10th at the service. Another session has been scheduled at the end of the following week to complete some aspects of the program already discussed.
Beyond individual actions, as a group of Peer Educators, we are planning awareness-raising sessions in 4 post-primary schools, and one in a parish in the city of Ouagadougou. The trainings will be held according to a schedule that we will discuss with the directors of the establishments, taking into account their programs of activity, and also the programs of youth ministry at the level of the chosen parish. Inter-school competitions will be organized for this purpose between the schools that will benefit from the training, and each time we visit a school, we will symbolically plant a tree called the “Tree of Abstinence” and whose protection we will entrust to the students at the school, thus inviting them to the principles of life and values promoted by AHAPPY. We will rely on our own capacities, our social network, and also on the support of goodwill and the EBA to carry out these activities.
In conclusion is that our attitudes and problems very often depend on our beliefs, our mentality, our ways of thinking and seeing things. We are ready and we will embody the change we want to see around us.
Por, TONTEPAMBO S. Roger,