Kenyan youth activists working on HIV/Aids, LGBTI, reproductive health and youth matters convened in Nairobi for the first forum under the auspices of the Global Dialogues ‘Connecting Voices of Youth’ programme.
The July 25 meeting brought together 180 participants from more than 40 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and institutions involved in various youth related programmes across the country.
The event was also attended by the top 20 national winning contestants who had submitted videos, short stories, film scripts, poems and narratives on HIV/Aids, sexual and gender based violence, sexual diversity and reproductive health for the international story-creating competition. Over 700 entries were submitted from youth in the region.
The meeting was an opportunity to network, discuss and exchange ideas on youth perspectives around Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) and HIV/Aids.
“The Global Dialogues competition provided an opportunity for young people to express themselves, showcase their talent and get their voices heard. Key stakeholders were presented with a window of innovation that can be used in breaking taboos, increasing interactions and connecting voices of youth across the globe,” says Ruth Kimani, the programme’s Kenya coordinator.
John Waiganjo, whose entry was placed third in the international competition, was elated about the event, “I was happy to see the nation’s next-generation creative and innovative writers feted with awards in appreciation of their contribution to youth sexuality and reproductive health issues.”
Through the use of the film, the cinematic experience is seen as a powerful way of breaking taboos and stimulating interaction between young people the world over. The stories will serve as educational tools and advocacy material to make opinion leaders and policy makers in Kenya and other target countries aware of young people’s perspectives.
The Global Dialogues programme is implemented by Hivos regional offices in Kenya, Indonesia and Guatemala.