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Monday, March 26, 2012


I recently had the opportunity to attend an outreach initiative with the Youth Against AIDS Club (YAAC), a student organization devoted to fighting “the mismatch associated with AIDS”.

The program suggested a full day of events; however we were to leave for the Kumenge Technical Institute at “midday” which is usually around 2pm (we actually left closer to 4pm).

The program initially included a drama highlighting ways to prevent HIV/AIDS transmission, speeches by the chairperson of the club and the patron (right before leaving I was told that I should give a speech which I respectfully declined), followed by a volleyball games (played by the boys), a netball game (played by the girls), and a football game (played by the boys). Since we got such a late start, the drama was cut short and the netball game was cut completely (surprise, surprise, even in Uganda girls’ sports is the first to get cut).

I was most interested to see the drama, because that is most pertinent to the work I envisioned doing with the students here in Uganda. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the audience clearly enjoyed the drama.The student performers portrayed promiscuous students, playing girls who were having multiple partners at one given time period as well as having transactional relations, where they would have sex in return for money, new clothes, fancy material goods, etc…

There were different parts of the drama, portraying sex for love and sex as a transactional act. There were also portions of the drama portraying successful students who abstained as well as students who practiced safe sex. The end of the drama portrayed the promiscuous girls as having gotten pregnant and having become infected with HIV. There was no mention of the male characters and the results of their actions, but I wonder if having the girls be victims to the ill-results is more effective.

I would have liked to see how the students at the technical institute felt about the skit. Afterwards everyone clapped and laughed, but I wonder if they got the message out of it, whether or not they understood that one should abstain, be faithful (as in only have one partner at any given period of time), and use condoms. There wasn’t any mention of needle sharing or the use of dirty needles as a method of HIV transmission, but I am not sure how much HIV is actually transmitted in this matter compared to transmission via sexual routes.

In the end I was fairly pleased with the drama and hope to be able to work with the students in making it better. It was mostly in Luganda so the actual dialogue was hard to follow, but the main idea was fairly easy to understand. Hopefully by working with the students I’ll be able to increase their effectiveness. I think the way they are most effective is that it is Ugandan youth telling other Ugandan youth about issues related to HIV/AIDS transmission. It isn’t the WHITE MAN coming in and dictating what should be done to decrease the infection. I think that allows the audience to relate much more to the participants doing the outreach, because the participants actually see, live, and know what is happening that is causing the HIV/AIDS transmission to continue or even increase.


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