In recognition of World AIDS Day, Youth Challenge International undertook a campaign to raise awareness, with the purpose of engaging our community in a discussion about HIV/AIDS. Our team headed out to the three Centres for Social Innovation in Toronto to talk to a wide variety of organizations and individuals, share some facts about the current state of the AIDS epidemic, and encourage them to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
During our tour of the Centres for Social Innovation, YCI was impressed with members’ willingness to get involved with the photo campaign. CSI members are known for their enthusiasm for raising awareness of important issues, and YCI’s World AIDS Day campaign was no exception. Team members from a wide range of organizations, from Peacebuilders International and the Canadian Arab Institute, to the Munk School of Global Affairs and OCIC staff themselves were all more than willing to pose for a picture and declare their support on social media.
The campaign was a learning experience for YCI staff as well. We discovered that though nobody hesitated to don the red ribbon and smile for a photo, starting conversations with people about HIV/AIDS was more of a challenge. Busy schedules, a lack of knowledge and even uncertainty on behalf of YCI staff about how exactly to start such a conversation were all barriers to creating deeper conversations with people we approached.
Overall, YCI really appreciated the support and eagerness people showed had for the campaign. We hope that the day provides us and other organizations with an opportunity to continue to be more critically involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS as it is one of the leading causes of youth mortality worldwide. YCI’s programs seek to address this public health emergency through the education, empowerment, and mobilization of youth living in Ghana and Tanzania. We remain passionate about engaging youth to create innovative solutions to the problems they face.
To read more about Youth Challenge International’s exciting programs currently addressing the AIDS epidemic, visit our program calendar.
If you want to learn more about HIV/AIDS, or want to find a way to get involved in the solution, check out the UN’s resources here.
By: Lena Sarchuk (Marketing and Communications Assistant, YCI) and Jordan Walker (Events and Outreach Assistant, YCI)