Like many NGOs, governments, communities and individuals around the world YCI is marking World Aids Day on December 1st.
New figures released by the World Health Organization and UNAIDS estimate the number of new HIV infections have declined each year by about 17% from 2001 to 2008, which is an achievement to celebrate (http://www.worldaidscampaign.org).
Yet, of every five people infected, only two start treatment and more than two million AIDS related deaths were reported globally in 2008, with two million children under the age of 15 now living with HIV (http://www.worldaidscampaign.org).
In the countries YCI works HIV/AIDS rates are particularly high amongst youth and especially female youth. Lack of sex education, poor access to health services, limited employment opportunities and gender inequality are some of a number of factors that make young people vulnerable.
YCI’s HIV/AIDS programming is focused on mobilizing and sensitizing youth, providing education, distributing condoms, producing multi-media initiatives and working directly with high-risk groups, such as sex trade workers.
YCI partners, staff and volunteers have been active in working with young people and we’ve been part of some dynamic partnerships not only with our existing partners but new organizations as well including PSI and Action Aid in Mombasa, Kenya.
A 17% annual reduction rate over the past seven years is something to celebrate and a positive example of the ability of governments, civil society, individuals and NGOs to effect positive change on a global level. As we recognize World Aids Day there’s more work to do and YCI is committed to its partners and the youth we work with to continue this important work.
Lastly, as the passage below illustrates, we’re also engaging young people in Canada. The Volunteer Action Network (VAN) is an opportunity for YCI alumni and Canadian volunteers to become involved in development issues in both a local and international context. Marika Escaravage, a YCI alumni and now a VAN team leader, has continued her engagement with YCI by organizing an outreach and education program to mark World Aids Day.
-Steve Cumming, International Programs Director
YCI volunteers at Ushujaa in Tanzania
Our team is bubbling with excitement over here in Ottawa, as we prepare for World AIDS Day on December 1st. We’ve been collaborating with 5 other organizations to plan a Red Theme Party. Too often the focus is placed on needs and shortcomings, but the Red Party gives us a chance to celebrate the advances that have been made and the passion and energy of people throughout the world who are actively fighting this pandemic! The organizations present will be able to provide information on what more can be done. For our part, we’ll be running a game called “Pop the stereotype” which will have participants debunking myths about HIV/AIDS and HIV positive people, while winning prizes donated by local sponsors! An extra little perk is that there will be drinks at reduced price. All we ask in return is for everyone to wear red and bring an open mind.
What: Red Party
Date: Tuesday, December 1st, 2009
Time: 7pm until bar closing
Location: 1848 (bar) in the University of Ottawa, Jock Turcott University Center
Come out! Wear RED!
-Marika Escaravage, VAN Team Leader, Ottawa