Kasungu — Youths around the Kasungu Municipality were on Saturday called to remain vigilant and HIV conscious for better and healthier lives. Peace Corps volunteer Paul Burns made the call during the Youth HIV Prevention and Career Counseling training workshop that took place at the Kasungu Community Hall.
The training workshop was held in conjunction with the District Youth Office (DYO) and Good Health Youth Organization (GHYO) with 50 out of school youths participating.
Speaking in an in interview with Mana after the daylong workshop, Peace Corps Volunteer Paul Burns who is also the Municipality HIV/AIDS Technical Advisor, hinted that time has come for the youth to take the lead and be equipped with enough updated information regarding the deadly virus.
"If Malawi is to win this fight against HIV/AIDS, let the youths take the lead. And as Peace Corps, we are to make sure that through the Health System Strengthening project where such training workshops would be held, the young people are equipped with enough life skills that they will use in their daily living" highlighted Burns.
Burns further said that as youths who are also vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, much information on HIV/AIDS is needed hence the rolling out of such training workshops.
He promised that through more programs under the Health System Strengthening project, numbers of new HIV infection s are likely to be reduced.
Good Health Youth Organization Executive Director Gently Kamanga conquered with the Peace Corps volunteer saying his organization has also outlined sporting activities intended to keep youths busy and refrain from indulging into immoral behaviors which put their lives at risk of contracting Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD's).
"We are trying to commercialize such sporting activities so that the youths are in another way economically empowered when they compete and win such trophies, hence reducing poverty levels amongst them.
"Not only that, their skills would be sharpened hence making them exposed to potential industries where they would be fully utilized" said Kamanga.
He however complained of inadequate standard venues where such activities may be taking place hence GHYO has taken an initiative to promote and sponsor in all avenues.
"Registration is in progress for the youths willing to participate. Moreover, we are yet to establish a youth centre which could be a source of information to equip them with the right information towards their well-being" he said.
Presidential Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) is sponsoring the Peace Corps with K3 million in its Health System Strengthening Project where Small and Medium Enterprises (SME's), Community Based Organisations and other stakeholders would be trained in various areas related to HIV/AIDS.