Zambia: "Real Man, Real Woman" HIV/AIDS Prevention Campaign Targets Youth (May 2007)

The First Lady of Zambia, Maureen Mwanawasa, and U.S. Ambassador to Zambia, Carmen Martinez, launched the "Real Man, Real Woman" HIV/AIDS prevention campaign in Lusaka, Zambia on May 11, 2007. During the launch at Chawama Basic School, the First Lady and Ambassador Martinez called on Zambian youth to resist pressures to engage in sexual coercion and encouraged parents to talk about the topic with their children.

In her remarks, First Lady Mrs. Mwanawasa said, "The messages imparted to our children must be as dynamic and creative as our children. Messages must be in the form of dialogue and must come from reliable sources they can trust - aunties, uncles, mothers, fathers, teachers and health workers. We cannot expect our children to talk to us, if we do not take the initiative to talk to them."

Ambassador Martinez urged all parents and elders to take responsibility for creating a safe environment for their children. "They play an influential role," she said, "in guiding adolescent minds, modeling behavior, in setting limits, and establishing rules."

The "Real Man, Real Woman" campaign targets youth, promoting positive gender roles and rejects intolerable practices such as coerced sex, trans-generational sex, and exchanging sex for gifts and favors. Furthermore, the campaign will attempt to change the way in which youth define what it means to be a "real" man or woman by urging them to practice responsibility, self-respect and gender sensitivity.

The campaign's mass media component includes advertisements for television and radio, and posters that illustrate the reality faced by young people. The campaign tools show youth resisting peer pressure, sexual violence, and transactional sex. Community volunteers, educators and youth groups will use the material to guide young people on how to deal with pressures to engage in sex and help parents talk about sensitive issues with their children.

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