AJAN main programme AHAPPY is designed to empower the youth with knowledge about HIV and AIDS in Africa. It is aimed at reducing vulnerability and contraction of HIV by the youth. Through various educational trainings, AJAN works to promote their growth holistically for the achievement of their full potential.
On 5 December 2023,a group of six trained AHAPPY members of the Catholic Diocese of Eldoret facilitated a training in one of the parishes located in the Uasin Gishu pastoral region, Merewet, Kenya.
Youths undergoing training on HIV/AIDS in Merewet, Kenya
According to Joslyne Wirunda, one of the AHAPPY trainers, the one day sensitisation event was attended by about 600 young people, most in high schools from the ages of 13-17yrs. She further indicated the AHAPPY programme response by participants was very positive, generating several recommendations for other parishes and educational institutions within the same geographical area, saying, "We hope that the AHAPPY awareness session we had will have a lasting impact on young people. From this, we look forward to contributing even more than we have done so far, aiming to positively impact the lives of young people in society at large and in the future to come. We are grateful to the AJAN-KENYA team".
African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN) launched the African HIV and AIDS Prevention Programme for the Youth (AHAPPY) in Sierra Leone for the year 2023! The Roll-out of the program that encompasses AHAPPY Training of trainers (ToT) was attended by 53 youths that took place from the 17th to 22nd April 2023, at St. John Paul ll Catholic church Grafton, Freetown, Sierra Leone. The 6-day training was an avenue in which AJAN continued with its mission, of building youth’ capacity as agents of change and responsible human being.
Launch of the African HIV and AIDS Prevention Programme for the Youth (AHAPPY) in Sierra Leone
The participants were awakened to the present realities of what is ailing their communities and the problems that the present African youth generation are facing and how they themselves as leaders will be able to become role models and solution providers. The enormous experience and the knowledge gained from the AHAPPY training that takes into consideration the catholic social teachings is depicted by what some of the participants shared with during the training.
From October 30th to November 3rd, 2023, AHAPPY training of trainers (ToT) was held at the “Paam Yondo” spiritual center in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, for the benefit of young people, educators, parents, etc. It was an opportunity to impart the necessary skills to be a good leader, coach, and disciple. It was a rigorous eucation on HIV and STIs and about the human need to know oneself, the world, and other people to make the world a happy place. The feedback from the participants encourages AJAN to continue striving for education to empower the youth.
“These days have brought to light the debilitating state of the world, with an increase in STI cases and mental health disorders, including a deficiency in sexual education among the youth. The world clearly needs urgent care. The world needs God, basic education without complexes and each man must discover his own human dimensions, his strengths and weaknesses so as to contribute to building a more responsible, healthy world by putting God at the center of our human action. Despite the limited time, we learned through sharing experiences and engaging in thoughtful discussions like adults and just like kids do during games. However, we were blessed with masters, professionals, and experts who understood how to oversee everything in the creation of a peaceful, happy world for us to live in. We appreciate the support of Association of Volunteers of Hope (ABE) in cooperation with the African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN)” - Hien J. Richard, AHAPPY Trainee participant, Burkina Faso.
Hien J. Richard (White shirt) together with colleagues during a group presentation session.
“I would like to say thank you to the initiators of the AHAPPY program, thank you to AJAN, to the entire Jesuit community, and thank you to the Association of Volunteers of Hope (ABE) for this opportunity that has been offered to me. Thank you also to the trainers for their commitment and the enriching content of their presentations. This training was welcomed, given the multifaceted context experienced by our African countries and Burkina Faso in particular where we have higher percentage of young population, made up of different cultures, religion, ideology, coupled with the reality of STIs, etc. In terms of how the training was conducted. the training allowed us to have a somewhat in-depth knowledge of STIs, some of which until now was unknown to the public, and to myself. We did also learn about the means of transmission of these STIs, the risk factors and the means of prevention or treatment. The training gave us the knowledge that from birth to old age to adolescence, we go through stages in which we can be positively or negatively affected depending on the environment in which we evolve. In turn, we too, as individuals or as a society, also take actions, sometimes in a trivial way, but which impact people in these age groups. Acquired skills in personal development, mentoring and leadership, will enable us to better support young people. With the tools and methods of approach that we have acquired as peer educators what remains to be done is to put into practice what has been learned in the field. This will allow me to know, how to approach, understand and accompany young people or anyone in vulnerable situations” - Tontepambo S. Roger, Peer Educator.
Fr. Ismael Matambura SJ., AJAN Director (Far Right),TONTEPAMBO S. Roger (The young man at the centre) together with colleagues, pose for a photo after the conclusion of the AHAPPY Training of trainers.
“The three facilitators of the training were very outstanding. Through their broad sense of mind, we were able to learn new things but also things that can help us going forward. Thanks to this weekly training we learnt the five dimensions of human being. By working in groups, we were able to establish new relationships and ways in which we young people could collaborate. In addition to that we gained knowledge and information about infectious diseases, drug addiction etc. The training highly contributed to our intellectual knowledge, how and why we must trust ourselves in solving problems that young people are facing. Moreover, we learnt the necessity of changing our mentality, loving oneself and others. I cannot put to paper all the things that we have learnt during the five days of training. All I can say is a big thank you to ABE the host and AJAN our guests. AHAPPY Forward forever, and backwards never. Thank you!”- Moumouni Sangare, AHAPPY Trainee Participant-Burkina Faso.
Moumouni Sangare from Burkina Faso (right)
The Chikuni Home Based Care (CHBC) is AJAN’s affiliate centre in Zambia, is one of the centers that had not received AHAPPY TOT, due to the overlap of activities and circumstances. From the 14-18 August, 2023, AJAN team conducted a five-days AHAPPY training of trainer’s in Lusaka Zambia.
Chikuni Home Based Care (CHBC) TOT on AHAPPY manual
One of the participants had this to say: “AHAPPY is a programme that has really moved me and taught me a lot in line with my personal life. In the five days that we had a workshop I have learnt a lot about HIV and AIDS. The preventive measures, living positively and how to support those who are infected and affected by HIV and to summarize it all practice abstinence for young people and those who are not married and for those married to be faithful to their partners. I leant about drug abuse, its effects and how to overcome drugs. I have learnt about my mindset and different areas that I have to work on and not forgetting the values, principles and virtues that I have taken up from the training. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the AHAPPY generation through AJAN for helping me in reflecting and transforming my life. For that I thank God and may He be able to bless the facilitators so that they may continue to work in the service of the LORD” - Vincent Marhila, Canisius Sec. School
The Democratic Republic of the Congo(DRC)
On June 13, 2023, St Ignace College in Kisangani organised a cultural day marking the end of the 2022-2023 school year, in the great parish hall Christ Roi de Mangobo in Kisangani, with support from Centre Maisha.
The month of June also marked the end of the activities of the “AJAN Youth for Youth Initiative” project, after six months of its execution. This project contributed a lot to improving reading among young people in the “Literacy” component, to the satisfaction not only of the beneficiaries, but also of their parents and supervisors.
On June 21, 2023, Centre Maisha celebrated the feast of Saint Louis de Gonzague, patron saint of people affected and infected by HIV and AIDS, and those who take care of them. The Eucharist was celebrated by the Director of the Center Maisha in the Church of Christ the King parish of Roi de Mangobo à Kisangani. The celebration brought together around thirty participants made up of beneficiaries and staff members of the Centre Maisha. Inspired by the address of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians (second letter).
The African Jesuit AIDS Network, (AJAN) also undertook a 5-day AHAPPY training of trainers (AHAPPY TOT) for the Novices, in the Noviciat-Notre Dame de la Compagnie de Jésus at Kinkeso/Inkisi- located in the Catholic Diocese of Kisantu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo from the 2nd to 6th of August 2023.
5-day AHAPPY training of trainers (AHAPPY TOT) for the Novices in Kisantu, DRC
The training attended by 10 second year novices, offered a unique opportunity to deepen their knowledge of AJAN, participate in its mission and become active collaborators in this mission by becoming formators themselves. Through this AHAPPY training the African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN) continues with its role of working to help Jesuits throughout Africa find a way to respond to HIV and AIDS. Which is an extension of the work of the apostolate of the Society of Jesus in Africa on deep and thorough formation for all Jesuits working in Africa and Madagascar.
Following this TOT the Novices will now accompany young people and help them to understand themselves as God’s creation in their own journeys toward greater knowledge, freedom and love. This is an essential part of the new evangelization to which the Church calls us. The training also focuses on promotion of justice as an essential element in Jesuit education and work in the fight against AIDS. It is a mission rooted in the belief that the vulnerable in the society including those infected and affected by HIV need to live in a world and a community of justice, love and peace.
In the AJAN website is a consolidation of stories and feedback around the AHAPPY initiative. To stay in touch and follow AJAN’s work click [Here]
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