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Positive Youth Initiative, Youth Initiative, MMAAK Positive Intiative

MMAAK Partners
Partners contributing to MMAAK Work:
CAFOD, CONCERN WORLD WIDE , AMREF/MAANISHA
 
 

Positive Youth Initiative  
Organization Background:

Positive Youth Initiative (PYI) is a youth group housed by Movement of Men against AIDS in Kenya (MMAAK) at the Metropolitan Hospital in Buruburu, Nairobi; PYI was started in 2003 because of a need identified by Youth for a youth-only support group. PYI is run by an interim steering committee consisting of six PYI members, each in charge of different activities, and is part of a larger national network of similar groups. There are PYI groups in Mombassa, Kisumu and Nyeri, under the guidance of an interim national coordinator. Currently, PYI receives no external funding. Money raised by a private donor is due shortly to help finance some of PYI’s activities.  MMAAK helps PYI by providing them space for their weekly meetings, as well as by providing them with public transportation costs for certain activities. Mostly, PYI activities are funded by PYI members themselves: Additionally, PYI has a pool where members contribute money to be used in case of an emergency.

PYI targets youth that are HIV positive or whose lives have been affected by AIDS, with the majority of the members being HIV positive. Most of the members learn about PYI through friends who were PYI members. Youth are mostly dissatisfied with adult post-test clubs they attended and prefer PYI which has a youth-specific focus.

PYI members are on average 24 years old and the youngest being 17, indicating that the group does not attract high school-aged youth. Most are single and five of the members have children. As well, half of the members have a high school degree as their highest education, the other half have attended a professional college. On average, most members have been there for almost two years. Most members, but not all, have been tested for HIV and the majority reported that the services they accessed were not youth friendly. Principal motivations for joining PYI are meeting other youth who are HIV positive. The main benefit Youth get from PYI is support, most importantly the psycho-social support: PYI’s role in their community is that of helping other HIV positive youth. Through their experience with the disease, some of the older members are in a good position to provide guidance and encouragement to the younger members:

The initiative, is youth-driven, it aims in rallying partners to increase investments and strengthen commitments for preventing HIV infections among young people,{youths} who as it has been discovered are very much exposed to HIV/AIDS, more the reason to involve youths in activities aimed at supporting prevention. Positive Youth Initiative was formed from the conviction that young people have the right to participate and develop programs that interest them as youths and provide them with a voice to shape and change policies that affect them. Forming a support group of HIV+ youth builds confidence and hope in young people, thus supporting them to share and freely articulate issues affecting them.

Youth Initiative

Positive Youth Initiative offers youth friendly services and creates an opportunity for youth to access information and quality services in reproductive health and sexual issues. The Positive Youth Initiative though a Project within MMAAK is governed and controlled by the Youths themselves with Technical and Financial support from MMAAK.

The Vision of PYI:- is to have A Youth who are free from AIDS.

Mission of PYI
To involve the youths in the fight against HIV and AIDS and economically empowering youths to be financially stable

Activities
The primary activity of PYI is their weekly support group meetings. In this way, PYI meets a unique need in that it provides a forum where infected and affected youth can discuss issues that are specifically relevant to them. The subject matter of these discussions include; dating, family relationships, disclosure, unemployment, education and stigma, these are areas where youth feel isolated in other support groups, hence accentuating their need for a youth-specific support group.. These meetings however are not providing members with counseling as they have a peer-educator focus. Through MMAAK, PYI is occasionally invited to events concerning HIV/AIDS awareness; members meet on Saturdays and play a sport, usually football, as a substitute to the Saturday meetings. The sports are an important means of group cohesion, as well as particularly important to provide exercise opportunities for people who are on ARVs (Anti-Retroviral). PYI engages in community outreach.

 Positive Youth Initiative conducts the following Activities:
  1. Group counseling for HIV+ youth
  2. Dialogue forums facilitated by the youths are who are infected and affected by HIV and AIDS in the community where they interact and discuss on issues that affect youths in relation to HIV and AIDS.
  3. Trainings for youths in order to sharpen their knowledge and skills In self management ,running of support groups ,treatment literacy and Home based care
  4. Sporting activities are also encouraged for the youths as a way of positive living.
  5. Community outreaches target the community and youths by creating awareness on issues affecting the youths in relation to HIV and AIDS, Sex and sexuality.
  6. Conduct mobile Voluntary counseling and testing VCT} to reach out to the youths in the community and doing referrals to youth friendly clinics.
  7. Establishment of a comprehensive care clinic.
  8. Promotion and distribution of condoms
Group Therapies
PYI group therapies support and encourage Youth who test positive to continue living life in a Positive way, Participation is greatly by the members, The session are held regularly all Saturdays from 10.00am to 12.00noon, of the year. During the session’s different perspectives and ideas come from all members. PYI therapy is one activity that keeps the PYI spirit burning. Thus, it has become the number one priority.

Dialogue Forums

Dialogue is a skill that the Youth Facilitators adopted after being trained as Peer facilitators both by MMAAK and Y-Peer, in the Forums PYI is keen to bring all Youth together irrespective of their HIV status to in house sessions where they are able to interact and discuss on almost any topic affecting their lives, the sessions have proved to be quite useful in opening communication among the Youth.

Trainings
PYI members continue to get skills by being mentored by MMAAK; there is an identified need of training PYI Peer Educators in Advocacy, Nutrition and Care and in Adherence counseling.

Outreaches

PYI goes out of is way o educate youth in and out of School on how to survive in a world of HIV and AIDS, outreaches are conducted within the community to create awareness on  social issues that expose Youth to HIV infection, some of the topics that are dealt with include Alcoholism and Drug abuse, HIV and AIDS prevention, Sex and sexuality, and Reproductive Health issues.