HAPPEN is perhaps the only serious program that deals with socio health prevention in schools and covers the entire diocese of Homa Bay. Other programs include ADRA ABY and WORLD VISION, but cover more restricted areas.
Following the guidelines of the HAPPEN project, which covers several themes to make the program really effective, we received positive reports from 84 schools where young people also improved their school performance because they understood the importance of education. It is important, now, that these children transmit what they have learned to their peers who have not yet been reached by the project, working as equal educators.
The area of interest of the project, the Catholic diocese of Homa Bay, is located in the region with the highest percentage of new infections and people with HIV throughout the country.
One of the factors influencing this situation is the presence of Lake Victoria. Unlike cities, in fact, where educated people look for job opportunities, the people who flock to these places (the beaches and the areas along the shores of the lake) looking for ways to live, are for the most part people without an education, especially in the case of girls, who here seek a new husband after being widowed or following a divorce. They are often people without proper knowledge to help them make informed decisions about their sex life.
Moreover, there are socio-cultural traditions that belong to the past but that in these areas struggle to be overcome: an example is the sexual discrepancy, so men are encouraged to be promiscuous, even during marriage, while women are expected to be “pure”. These factors, combined with low levels of education among girls and young women who leave school early to take care of household chores, have made women particularly vulnerable to HIV/AIDS.
It is estimated that more than one in four people in the world is between 10 and 24 years old. It is an age group in which you learn many things, explore your possibilities and make decisions that can permanently mark the rest of your life. Young people are a great potential resource for the future, with their energy, ideas and hopes. This is also the age at which boys become sexually active, even if they marry later than the previous generation, sometimes because they do not have the financial resources to organize the wedding, other times because they have the opportunity to study and therefore postpone the choice. to get married.
As the number of sexually active but unmarried young people increases, the slogan NO TO SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE becomes difficult to sustain. The high number of unwanted or young pregnancies, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases and numerous unsafe abortions affecting local girls are clear indicators that their sex life begins early and unprotected. Young people need information, knowledge and services that can help them make responsible decisions about their sexual behavior, otherwise they engage in high-risk behaviors that can have adverse consequences.
Many of the students in primary and secondary school received sexual education at a young age, assimilating incorrect notions. With the introduction of contraceptives, moreover, most young people think they are safe, even if many do not use them or do not know how to use them. Many cases have been recorded of school-age girls taking the pill or boys found with condoms in their pockets, convinced that an unexpected pregnancy is the only negative consequence of these sexual behaviors.
Finally, drug use is quite sustained among young people and this lowers their cognition skills. If they fail in school, they become a danger to the community, as they often find no alternative but to steal to get the money for drugs. Some NGOs have taken an interest in this area, bringing some hope, too. if often their programs involve a limited area of action and do not pay the right attention to prevention: most of the intervention strategies are mainly focused on the support and care of orphans and PLWHAs (People Living With Hiv / Aids = People Living with HIV / AIDS). VCTs have been started, but there are still few people who go there due to shyness, the weight of traditions, the community’s distrust of this service, and a lack of knowledge on what the HIV blood test is. / AIDS and fear of stigma that could follow the test.
- The great fish retaliates the Bishop of the Diocese of Homa-bay
- The five small fishes symbolize the 5 deaneries of the Diocese
- The red ribbon is the symbol of HIV/ AIDS
- HAPPEN is the name of the project
This is a region of the lake and we thought a logo dealing with the fish and the lake is a good example.