The engagement of youth leaders is crucial for ending the HIV epidemic and promoting positive living among People Living with HIV (PLHIV). By the end of last year, 31 new RRP+ district youth representatives were elected and trained in their role as leaders of their generation. During a 2,5- days workshop in Kigali they improved their knowledge on HIV and the Differentiated Service Delivery Model. They learnt about the rights and responsibilities of people living with HIV, discussed situations where they felt their rights were not respected and different ways to claim their rights. One of the issues discussed for example, were long waiting times in queues that clearly show you’re coming for ART, which is an example of violation of privacy and a barrier for youth to access HIV treatment.
The young RRP+ members also reflected on their role as district youth representatives: how can they support youth in their district to deal with the challenges they are facing? The young leaders committed to be a role model of positive living for their peers, prevent transmission of HIV, promote human rights of youth living with HIV (including reporting cases of violation of rights) and mobilize young people to organize themselves and get actively involved in improving the well-being of PLHIV and ending the HIV epidemic by 2030. (See the full report of the workshop here.) http://rrpplus.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/RRP-Youth-Representatives-Training-Report.pdf
The impact of the workshop (supported by GIZ) goes beyond those 2,5 days in December. Meeting other district youth representatives and exchanging ideas about how to contribute to improving the life of youth living with HIV, has inspired many of the participants to become active leaders. An informal network on WhatsApp has been created for example, to assure future exchanges and mutual support among the youth. And youth representatives of the City of Kigali decided to join their forces by creating one youth organization.
RRP+ will continue supporting HIV+ youth in Rwanda to make sure their voice is heard!