Tanzania First Lady Salma Kikwete chairing a roundtable on ecotourism.
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos
From the Offices of First Lady of the United Republic of Tanzania, Mrs. Salma Kikwete
Why the First Lady’s Campaign on Youth and HIV/AIDS?
As the symbolic mother of Tanzania as well as a high-profile advocate for the nation’s continued progress, Madam Salma Kikwete recognizes that the future of our country depends on the health of our children and on the decisions our government leaders make now.
The First Lady also recognizes that AIDS poses a clear and unprecedented threat to our future, undermining development in all sectors and at all levels. It causes prolonged human suffering, with parents losing children and children losing parents. It deprives families, communities and the entire country of its youngest, strongest, most productive people – the very future of the nation.
The primary goal of the First Lady’s Campaign is to prevent new HIV infections among youth and to provide support to orphans. However, no strategy to reduce the spread of HIV and AIDS can succeed until home, schools and communities all become safer places for young people. Ensuring the security of children in these settings requires both individual and societal change.
The First Lady will advocate for reinforcing the social norms that influence adults to be trustworthy guardians. On an individual level, this means acting in ways that do no harm to children, protecting them from risky situations and ensuring that they are safe from exploitation and abuse.
What is unique about this campaign?
While it is important to talk to youth about HIV and AIDS, most prevention campaigns rely on young people to protect themselves and miss a critical audience: adults. The First Lady will speak directly to adults about their role as protectors and guardians of children. For the first time, the First Lady will issue a call to action for adults to take responsibility for HIV infection among children. Across the country, she will deliver a number of unique messages:
• Children depend on adults to provide them with a safe environment.
• Youth should not be infected by adults trying to avoid infection or seeking a cure for AIDS.
• As communities are damaged by AIDS, we must rekindle Africa’s traditional shared value of collective responsibility for children.
What will the campaign do?
• Support orphans and vulnerable children
• Support youth leadership to increase access to information, life skills training and other services for youth
• Raise parents’ awareness of adolescent issues
• Promote dialogue and wider awareness of socio-cultural practices that encourage the spread of HIV and AIDS in many communities
• Support the formation of a national network of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) working on AIDS issues related to youth and children
• Promote and support a human rights- and gender-based response to HIV and AIDS
• Promote the scaling up of Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) services.
• Promote the expansion of programmes for the Prevention of Mother- to- Child Transmission (PMTCT)
• Advocate for strengthened research programmes on preventive methods focusing on women
How will the campaign be conducted?
After the campaign is officially launched by the First Lady, it will be rolled out throughout the country in three phases:
• Phase 1: Treat every child as your own
• Phase 2: Speak out against adult infection of children
• Phase 3: Talk to your children about sex