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Service Yezu Mwiza Center, Bujumbura, Burundi undertakes the Youth for Youth Initiative 2022 which targets empowering the youth in sexual behavior and caring for the environment.

In the month of November, the roll-out of the African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN) Youth for Youth Initiative Program 2022 kicked-off in Service Yezu Mwiza (SYM) Center, Burundi. The project undertaken seeks to support the youth and help them to develop sexual responsible behaviour and care for the environment. It aligns with Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAPs) 3, 4 and Laudato Si, the accompaniment of the youth towards a hope-filled future and caring for our planet.

To promote a happy generation, SYM undertook the project named, Empowering the youth in sexual behavior and caring for the environment through sensitization and training of 100 champions in four secondary schools in poor quarters of Bujumbura city. The project started off by Identification of 100 champions in the four target schools. Fr. Fleury NDUWAYO Sj, the coordinator of projects and programs in Service Yezu Mwiza, in collaboration with the project manager, identified the 23 students from each school among which 10 are from the environment clubs and 13 from health clubs. Besides, 8 monitors were identified among which 2 are selected from each school.

Project manager in SYM Madam Laurence together with the coordinator of projects and programs in SYM Fr. Fleury NDUWAYO Sj

SYM also organized a workshop in each of the four targeted schools. A total of 92 students got the knowledge and were made aware of the HIV/AIDS disease; insights were provided on the causes and prevention methods, the impact of HIV/AIDS to a person and to the society, discussion on early pregnancies, dating and relationships among the youth, violence, living well and healthy.

After the training, students from ECOFO Gihanga testified that attending such workshops is helpful because they discover many things they cannot discover when they are with their parents. They assert that, some parents cannot discuss some issues regarding sexuality. Thus, some realities are sometimes hidden from children. They requested that SYM should organize more of such workshops to impact many other youths who are still behind when it comes to the subject of sexual and reproductive health.

Project manager in SYM Madam Laurence giving a workshop on Laudato si at ECOFO Ruziba

To help students in the environment clubs develop the habit of caring for the environment. SYM organized activities in four targeted schools. During the workshop, 92 students among which 40 were from each environment club in four targeted schools were trained. Participants were taught about Laudato Si; which advocates caring for the natural environment and all people, as well as broader questions of the relationship between God, humans, and the Earth.

The same workshop on Laudato Si was also extended for 8 monitors and 8 student leaders of the clubs at service Yezu Mwiza center, Bujumbura, Burundi. This was deemed important to help the students and their monitors to integrate topics discussed in the session back in their clubs at school.  Apart from widening their knowledge, it was an opportunity to empower them so that they can eventually help in the sustainability of the project.

Coordinator of Projects and programms Fleury Nduwayo, sj planting fruit trees at ECOFO Gihanga

In exercise of Laudato to create impacts that can inspire the champions and the surroundings, SYM organized a day to plant fruit trees in each of the four targeted schools. Each school received 4 avocado trees, 4 mango trees, and 2 lemon trees. An activity that both students and school leaders appreciated. Students on their turn testified that planting fruit trees in their schools will advantage them because they will eat fruits and will get seeds that they will eventually plant at their homes.

Coordinator of the projects and programs in SYM with project manager and administrator of ECOFO Nyabiyorwa marking and grading the contestants’ performance

Towards the culmination of the above workshops. SYM organized a dissertation competition in Kirundi in each of the 4 schools on the Promotion of sexual responsible behavior and caring for the environment. SYM launched a theme for all 8 clubs in four schools to allow students to be active and show the skills they have acquired in the workshops. It was also an opportunity to evaluate them and see how effective and helpful this project was.

Executive Director, Service Yezu Mwiza, Father Desiré YAMUREMYE, SJ (Right), presents prize to students who had won the interclub competition organized by the Service Yezu Mwiza

2 winners (one from the health club and another from the environment club) of the dissertation competition were selected from each school. The winners were awarded during this year’s World AIDS Day 2022 celebration that happened on December 15 at Service Yezu Mwiza center. Executive Director, Service Yezu Mwiza, Father Desiré YAMUREMYE, SJ together with the country directors of FHI360 and ICAPGlobalHealth, presented prizes to 8 Young students who had won the interclub competition organized by the Service Yezu Mwiza in collaboration with African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN) in 4 schools in Bujumbura City Hall.

Story by, Fleury NDUWAYO Sj,

The coordinator of projects and programs in Service Yezu Mwiza

Ismael Matambura



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