The National AIDS Commission (NAC) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) hosted the Youth Leaders Forum today in Belize City under the theme: “HIV, Youth and the Future: A national Youth Leaders Forum”. According to the Programs Officer Arthur Usher, the goal was to educate and engage 30 youth leaders in an effort to create a representative national program that speaks to the voice of the youth in relation to HIV/AIDS.
“These youth leaders will be given specific information about statistics and data concerning Belize and HIV. It is our hope that based on that data and collaboration that they will then take the information back to their organizations and back to their schools and disseminate. At the end of today’s program, we do hope for them to have some program design that we will hopefully implement within the national program next year so the idea is to get feedback from them and they will give us what they think and then we will design a program around that. So we are looking at ages 20-24 as one of the highest populations in terms of being tested and also contracting the disease so again our age range for today’s activity is somewhere between 16-24 because we are looking at high school kids as well as junior college and university level. So again we are targeting the demographic specifically but we are also targeting specific people within a demographic to disseminate the information.”
“These youth leaders are specifically from different schools or other organizations?”
“Right different schools, different organizations and different youth lead organizations as well so we have different high school and universities, we do have BFLA’s young members here so it’s an eclectic group, a nice mix but we also getting demographic data from them as they feed into our processes.”
The forum included dynamic and innovative presentations on topics such as HIV 101, the Ministry of Health’s Surveillance Report, the UNICEF Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 5 and the Knowledge, Attitudes & Practices in Sexual Behaviour & HIV in Belize Report.