Youth and adolescents: a peer experience about HIV/AIDS fully designed and implemented by adolescents/youth
J.L. Schmidt1, D. Cal2, M. Bianco3
1National Network of Youth and Adolescents for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Coordination, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2National Network of Youth and Adolescents for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 3Fundacion para Estudio e Investigacion de la Mujer -FEIM, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Issues: Many prevention programs for adolescents and youth are implemented by adults without incorporating the specific needs and perspectives of this group. In response to this, in 1999 we created the RedNac (National Network of Youth and Adolescents for Sexual and Reproductive Health), comprised of 20 adolescent and youth groups from 12 provinces in Argentina, to disseminate among peers information about sexual and reproductive rights, HIV prevention and access to health services.
Description: During 2009-2010 the RedNac developed the project “Youth and Adolescents in preventive actions about HIV and AIDS”, in which members of the RedNac youth groups conducted training workshops, prevention campaigns during large youth events, community radios, painting public murals, plays in schools and community centers, art exhibitions and discussion of films, among other youth-led interventions. We worked together with nine groups from different provinces in Argentina, in articulation with hospitals, health centers, schools, universities, community centers and government organizations.
The RedNac trained 90 adolescents and youth, (15-24 years old), in project development, coordination and implementation. The proposals and actions for building sensitivity and prevention of HIV/AIDS reached 5000 adolescents and youth.
Lessons learned: The adolescents and youth learned to design, implement and evaluate projects and built their leadership capacity. They were able to put their creativity to use by learning to manage resources as well.
RedNac members learned that the sustainable work of these youth groups will lay the groundwork for generating changes that improve the health conditions of society as a whole, and especially of youth and adolescents.
Next steps: The RedNac members will strengthen this experience by implementing original and attractive proposals designed by and for young people to improve the outcomes and have a large impact, increasing sensitivity on HIV/AIDS from a gender and rights-based perspective.
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