Windhoek — First Lady Monica Geingos received an international award for her contribution towards the fight against HIV/AIDS in Namibia on Saturday.
Madam Geingos and Irish pop star Sir Bob Geldof were presented with the 2018 World without AIDS award at the 25th Opera gala event hosted by the German AIDS Foundation at the Deutsche Opera in Berlin, Germany, according to African News Agency.
"The First Lady is honoured to receive the award," said Helena Kuzee, the spokesperson in the Office of the First Lady. In her acceptance speech, Madam Geingos dedicated the award to the #BeFree movement.
"The recognition is a timely reminder that genuine youth inclusion adds real value in both policy formulation and implementation. The youth of today are the generation that will end AIDS. Let them lead the way," said Geingos on Saturday.
The #BeFree Movement was launched in November 2016 at a Windhoek nightclub with the assistance of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
The #BeFree movement was inspired by the UNAIDS drive to ensure an AIDS-free generation by 2020 through the START FREE, STAY FREE, AIDS FREE initiative.
"While HIV remains a focal point, the intention of #BeFree is to create a non-judgemental, inclusive platform which encourages honest and robust dialogue and information sharing on matters which stand in the way of young people being free of the issues that hold them back. We also act as a bridge builder between those with trauma and those responsible for frontline trauma services," according to the Office of the First Lady.
Since its first launch on November 12, 2016 the movement has been launched in all of the country's 14 regions. "Some regions hosted more than one #BeFree event," Kuzee stated. Approximately 10 000 youth have attended #BeFree events across the country, added Kuzee.
"In addition to the events held, #BeFree optimises its platform by plugging into existing structures such as boys and girls teen clubs," remarked Kuzee. Life skills teachers across the country have also been trained to assist with the key messaging of the #BeFree movement.
"The platform has been expanded to allow for sharing of experiences in Geneva, Switzerland, Harare, Zimbabwe; Amsterdam in the Netherlands and New York, USA," explained Kuzee.