Kenya WAIT is continuing its activities and outreach programs to schools and communities within the nation. WAIT is having a strong impact, and we are being embraced by schools for our youth-friendly message.
WAIT has been presented by double challenges: increased demand for performances and a decrease in contributions. Despite this, we're using whatever little we have to reach out to the community. Even though we've had to tighten our belts, WAIT is still providing training, assistance, and support to local community health issues.
We just finished an outreach program that enabled us to reach out to 900 primary school students and 600 high school students.
Its always a challenge in HIV prevention to deliver a practical and clear message, especially when the people we are talking to do not consider themselves at risk. I realized that young people living far away from the capital city are less aware of how to protect themselves, and often don't see themselves as vunerable to HIV. Reaching out to them was the motivation behind this outreach trip.
I went to the district of Siaya to introduce the WAIT program to 3 primary schools and 3 secondary schools. Their response was very good and we received a lot of support from all the teachers and local youth.
We started the program late because the students all had to finish their exams, but everything worked out in the end.
We started the program by reaching out to the community with the WAIT message. I then organized a walk of 20 km to raise awareness of our work and to collect donations to assist the orphans in the area.
Peer Education and Engagement
Despite being tired and fatigued, we managed to have a one-on-one peer session. We interacted with youth, sharing ideas on information needed in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Through talking to youth, we realized that there is also a need to train caregivers in the community so that they are able to care for orphaned children living in centers and homes.
Kenya WAIT Visits School and Obama's Grandmother
This is one of the best encounters we've had during our recent outreach activities. We managed to give a presentation at Senator Obama Secondary School. The school is located in President Obama's hometown.
We began with several skits to kick start the program. I then gave the HIV/AIDS lecture and had a question and answer session with the students.
After the program, we were able to pay a visit to Obama's grandmother and discuss WAIT with her. She was impressed and promised that we would have support from both her and the local youth in the future.
Whenever we perform at a school, we always make sure to start a WAIT club so that the message will stay with the school and hopefully spread from there. I formed a new WAIT club within the school that will be engaged in abstinence advocacy and maintain the spirit of WAIT within the school.
The following day, we woke up tired, but we encouraged each other in the importance of our work and were able to gain energy from that. We performed in another school that morning. I gave the lectures and Roseline engaged the students in question and answer sessions.
The next day, we woke up early to leave for our next performance, which was quite a distance away. We performed at two schools that day, a primary school in the morning and a secondary school in the afternoon.
I almost couldn't believe how much we had achieved in just one week. We had done marvelous work, and really proved to ourselves exactly what wonderful and positive results can come from hard work and outreach to the community.
If you are walking down the path of success and you are willing to continue without being discouraged, then surely you will progress and attain huge results.
By Willis Omondi - Kenya WAIT Director