World AIDS Day is celebrated every year all over the world on December 1st to raise public awareness about HIV/AIDS. Around the world, The Hunger Project’s program countries celebrated the day with events, celebrations, awareness-raising activities and more.
The Hunger Project-Uganda celebrated World AIDS Day on December 7, with an event attended by over 500 people, including community members, epicenter leaders, government officials, political and technical leaders, health service providers, child protection actors, civil society organization partners and youth.
The function was also attended by the guest of honor, Hon. Minister Galabuzi Ssozi Denis, the Minster of State responsible for Luwero-Rwenzori Triangle who is also the area Member of Parliament of Busiro North constituency. Namayumba Epicenter, in partnership with Namayumba Sub County, celebrated with the theme “HIV Stigma, Not Retro, Just Wrong.”
The Honorable Minister toured The Hunger Project’s epicenter programming, including the epicenter’s rural bank, food bank, vegetable demonstration gardens and the Safe Water project. During the tour, the epicenter chairman was able to describe to the Minister the importance of the holistic nature of the epicenter’s programs and how they have transformed the lives of people in the area. The chief guest also toured the epicenter’s HIV and AIDS programs, including counseling and testing conducted by the Epicenter Nurses.
Due to documented link between child marriage and HIV infection, the commemoration targeted young people and supplied information on the dangers of child marriage, underscoring the role of child marriage in driving HIV infection. This was attained through youth-friendly events like sports, music, dance and drama. Young girls participated in a dialogue on child marriage and were presented placards in which they wrote messages such as: “I want to be in school not to get married” and “Child Marriage promotes HIV infection among young girls.”
A woman councilor, who led the event with the girls, said:
“To me this is not about just celebrating but for us to be alert about the raising prevalence of HIV in our community especially the youth. That is why we have organized so many sports activities to attract young people especially the girls to participate purposely to get them involved in this fight and have each of us rethink what we are doing to stop this trend.”
The Minister, while addressing the congregation, mentioned that Government of Uganda spoke of the policy and legal framework to protect the rights of children including legislation against child marriage and other sexual offences. He called upon the young girls to be very vigilant and report all forms of abuse to relevant authorities.