Empowering Young People Living with HIV
Workshop in Nairobi, Kenya
4 November 2010 - KIT employees together with community mobilizers, representatives of Amref and the Foundation of People living with HIV and AIDS in Kenya facilitated a two-day workshop for 50 young people living with HIV in Nairobi's Kibera slum, co-funded by Plan Netherlands and KIT.
This first workshop, one of a series designed to respond to these young people's rights and needs, aimed to provide a forum to express their desires and dreams in terms of social relations and bonding, aspects of positive living and quality of life, rights and social responsibilities. Using participative methods, the workshop also aimed to incorporate new approaches to facilitate life skills training for HIV-positive young people in Kenya; mobile technology and social media were applied as exciting ways of attracting and engaging participants in topics such as HIV-prevention and -care, as well as rights-based development of self-esteem.
The workshop involved mind mapping exercises, presentations on power and self esteem, the presentation of short state-of-the-art social media approaches and a description of the intentions to use these approaches in the work with young people. Managed by a local NGO involved in work with youth and social media (Nairobits), a Facebook-page was established during the workshop to enable communication, sharing and community building among the 50 young participants. Workshop outputs such as mind maps and posters were immediately uploaded on the Facebook page. Mobile technology was used as a tool for motivation and communication, potentially to be integrated with social media at a later stage. At several points in time during and after the workshop, bulk text messages (SMS) with motivational contents and questions were sent out to all participants, generating reasonable (>50%) response levels.
The workshop participants had taken part in the study Access to sexual and reproductive health information and services among adolescents living with HIV in Kenya, carried out by KIT and Plan International Kenya in 2009. One of the study's findings was that a rights-based approach should be adopted when working to improve Young Positives' quality of life and enhance their life skills, self-esteem and mutual support. Efforts will now be made to identify a Kenyan organization that has the interest, capacity and funding to establish a post-research follow-up programme that will support these young people, whether face-to-face or in a virtual environment.