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A veteran team of trainers from the Harare-based Jesuit AIDS Project (JAP) recently conducted a workshop for young people in a rural parish in Zambia. The joint project was sparked by the efforts of AJAN to promote more mainstreaming of Jesuit AIDS programmes as well as coordination between the different programmes.

Young peer educators of the home-based care (HBC) programme of the Jesuit parish of Chikuni, southeast Zambia, warmly welcomed the Zimbabwean trainers and thoroughly enjoyed the workshop about integral youth development held from 8 to 14 September. There were 24 participants from the 21 centres of Chikuni Parish.

“The participants appreciated the opportunity given to them to improve their skills,” said Fr Kelly Michelo SJ, parish priest of Chikuni and head of the HBC programme. “They had never watched the movies shown to them and some topics were new. They learnt a lot and this has empowered them to improve the quality of their work as peer educators.”

Fr Kelly said the topics found to be especially interesting included the HIV life cycle; the Johari Window, a communication model; leadership skills and unhelpful behaviours in a group. And “they particularly commended, enjoyed and found very educative the video Musinsimuke- Wake Up.”

The JAP team left equally satisfied: “The young people in Zambia demonstrated willingness to learn despite the lengthy sessions, varying levels of literary and hot weather,” said Susan Chibika, director of JAP.

“The participants were a mixed group including single youth, married and single parents, yet they blended well and openly shared their life experiences, broadening the scope of JAP too.”

Fr Kelly invited JAP to give a workshop after meeting Mrs Chibika during activities to mark the 10th anniversary of AJAN in Nairobi in June. “At the meeting of AJAN, collaboration was underlined as very important if we are to offer a coordinated effort and mainstream HIV/AIDS,” said Fr Kelly. “So JAP and Chikuni HBC decided to go ahead with this collaboration.”

Mrs Chibika said: “The basis for the possibility of collaboration was how the integral youth development training of JAP could benefit the youth of Chikuni Parish.” Integral youth development is a process of moulding the behaviour of young people to help them develop holistically into responsible and caring adults.

One thing the workshop in Zambia proved is that JAP has what it takes to be a regional Jesuit youth development centre, specialising in training and offering internships to interested organisations. A tool that will surely add value to their training is AHAPPY, the AJAN HIV&AIDS Prevention Programme for Youth, which is an education package created by AJAN for Jesuit schools and other educational institutions in Africa.

“With the AHAPPY program being spearheaded by AJAN, JAP feels it is ready to deliver!” added Mrs Chibika.

Dennis Owuoche

Dennis Owuoche Shadrack is the AJAN Communications and Research officer, Having joined AJAN in 2022 he has a broad experience in content writing; statements, press releases , website management, brand development, developing communications strategies and managing the social media, disseminating knowledge products, preparing flyers, reports and spreading other materials in order to enhance awareness about HIV and support Holistic development of the young people as a AHAPPY Trainer.


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