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Getting men to talk

Youth group meets to talk about and take action against HIV and AIDS in their community.
Youth group meets to talk about and take action against HIV and AIDS in their community.

Young people succeed at getting men to talk about, and take action against, HIV/AIDS.

In the past, the opinions of women and children in Kikokeni were often harshly silenced or completely ignored. Now, many men in this area of Kilifi, on the north coast of Kenya, have begun taking a leading role in their community’s reproductive heath programs; and in doing so, are actually listening to the women and children.

“Here in Kikokeni, we know that for every man who joins the program, we can anticipate a drop in the number of HIV infections and ultimately expect a healthier community,” said Titus Dena, the public health officer in Kikokeni.

Led by Plan, men joined in the program in surprising ways, including:

  • Attending HIV sensitization and awareness meetings
  • Participating in prevention training sessions
  • Joining in peer-to-peer education

The program was started by young people, who expressed to Plan staff the need for HIV education. Plan worked with them to establish the Kikokeni Community Health Workers Association to address this and other issues.

Immediately, members of the association noticed that men were underrepresented, leaving a big gap in the fight against AIDS. Once approached, however, the men were ready to make a difference, having seen the impact of the disease in their community.

As a result, with your Solutions Sponsorship and Plan’s assistance, several important changes were made in the community:

  • Women were given greater access to family planning services, with the knowledge and support of the men in their families.
  • Women began attending health education sessions and receiving pre- and post-natal care at the local clinic.
  • Young community members receive HIV/AIDS prevention education and counseling and those living with HIV/AIDS are helped to live positively.
  • The Kikokeni Community Health Workers Association promotes HIV/AIDS education, with special attention to the community’s once-overlooked males.

Thanks to the young people of Kikokeni, the community has become more open and able to deal with the serious issues affecting them all. And thanks to you, for your support of our Solutions Sponsorship program, making this work possible.