Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

Namibia: Animation Reaches Youth

At a interactive workshop hosted by the American Cultural Centre, a group of young people had the opportunity to vent their fears and aspirations to deal with the major impact HIV has on their lives.

A video animation set the context for the frank discussion that followed.

Accoding to Joel Haikali a local film maker and producer of the animation, one of the issues that emerged was peer pressure. "The wish to fit in and to be liked is a major factor that get young people into situations in which they might agree to engage in sexual activities even if they might not really be ready for it or want it."

Anthony Deaton, the Public Affairs Officer of the Embassy of the United States said the country is doing a good job in spreading the message surrounding HIV and Aids. "With the animation, we are trying to encourage debate and to encourage all Namibians especially the youth to try and find out who they are and become confident enough to make their own decisions and stick to them and we aim to reach out to young people."

Haikali said the input from the youth was of great importance as it was a great experience to do the workshop and the level of honesty and engagement was intense as the group really opened up to issues that they are faced with within societies. "Had we not done this workshop prior to coming up with the story we would have done a completely different story."

The finished project which consists of two similar clips was featured on Wednesday, this week at the American Cultural Centre and is also available for further viewing from Joe Vision Production.

The project was funded by Pepfar with the support of the American Cultural Center as a unique opportunity to explore animation as a new genre to reach a wider youth audience, capture their attention and encourage discussions.

According to Haikali, it was the first animation that they produced of such nature with a social responsibility aspect to it.

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