The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has recently awarded $N 1.5 million to organizations and individuals that are combating the spread of HIV/AIDS in Namibia. Chosen for their unique and innovative educational methods, these projects are expected to help curb the HIV/AIDS epidemic in this sub-Saharan African country.
Recipients of PEPFAR grants include: Bicycling Empowerment Network Namibia (BEN), the John Muafangejo Art Center, Katutura Community Radio, Committed Artists of Namibia, and the Living Positive Tour, featuring local musical group Vocal Motion 6.
BEN launched a new Namibian cycling team in April 2008, and plans to use its funding to raise HIV/AIDS awareness and promote behavioral changes through its “Spin for Life Campaign.” This project will urge the country’s youth to engage in regular physical activity rather than risky sexual behaviors that could lead to HIV infection. These bikers will also encourage young people to be tested for HIV/AIDS.
Another recipient, the John Muafangejo Art Center (JMAC), will use its grant to paint two new murals to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. Adding to last year’s four PEPFAR-supported murals, JMAC’s two new works of art will be painted in Tjaka in the Omaheke Region and the J.T.L. Beukes Primary School in Rehoboth.
Katutura Community Radio will now host the “KCR Khomas High School Debates” on its “Ek-Se” radio show. This on-air program will cover issues and topics related to HIV/AIDS, such as whether the government should use more money for the fight against HIV/AIDS or for economic development, the role of men in prevention, and whether or not youth have been empowered and educated to face challenges of modern life, including HIV/AIDS.
Committed Artists of Namibia, another grant recipient, will present a puppet show about HIV/AIDS to high school audiences in the Khomas region. The puppet show, “The Trumpet Player,” directed by Frederick Philander, tells the story of an HIV- positive mother with a teenage son who aspires to be a trumpet player. The script explores consequences and realities of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. During the pilot phase, the play will be performed in secondary schools in the Khomas region.
The Living Positive Tour, which features local a cappella group Vocal Motion 6 and Ms. Herlyn Uiras, will continue its collaboration with PEPFAR for a second year. With PEPFAR support, the Living Positive Tour will continue its high schools performances in the Otjozondjupa, Kavango and Caprivi regions. Tour members will reiterate their messages – how to prevent HIV/AIDS, how important it is to accept people living with HIV/AIDS, how to have respectful and loving relationships, and how to live positively if you are diagnosed with HIV/AIDS – to youth in their effort to increase HIV/AIDS awareness.
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