UNESCO trains journalists on life-saving information for young people in South SudanShare
By Taban Robert Aggrey
In December, UNESCO in partnership with UNFPA and the South Sudan AIDS Commission, trained over 20 journalists drawn from broadcasting and print media across South Sudan on critical challenges facing young people today.
The training aimed at building the capacity of journalists with accurate and up-to-date information on sexual reproductive health and comprehensive sexuality education for adolescents and young people in order for effective delivery in their reportage.The hope is the training will help build the quality and quantity of coverage related to HIV and STI prevention and sexual and reproductive health rights and sexual health information and services for young people. The workshop also covered topics such as male and female anatomy and the power of the Internet and social media in sharing life-saving information to the broader community.
Salah Khaled, the head of UNESCO-South Sudan, addressed the journalists in Juba: “A huge number of young people in the country are unaware of the risks of STIs and other health dangers and they need to be educated,” said Khalid.
“Media has the power to educate a vast population on vital issues in a very appropriate time.”
According to the AIDS Commission, there are over 18,000 children and young people living with HIV across the country today with over 2,400 new infections happening every year (2013 Report).
There is also a major concern in STI prevalence among young people (age 15-24 years old) in Juba with a large disparity between youth that are in school, where rates are at 12% when compared with out of school youth who are over double that rate at 38%.
Habib Daffalla M. Awongo, Director General for Programme Coordination for South Sudan AIDS Commission (SSAC) revealed that over the last few years, the response to the AIDS epidemic in South Sudan has achieved encouraging results.
Awango stressed the critical role the mass media plays in reporting effectively on HIV prevention, treatment and care services. He emphasized that through these media outlets, journalists can help educate, mobilize, bring about behavior change and encourage populations to support and participate in a national AIDS response.
Lemeri Alison, Radio presenter for Radio Easter Yei and one of the participants for the training said the training has come at the right time when people are yearning to know more about HIV.
“I am convinced that all of us who have come for this training are going to impact the lives of the people in the community by reporting accurately and fairly,” said Lemeri.
A special thank you to Taban Robert Aggrey, a journalist from South Sudan and guest blogger for the Young People Today initiative.
Photo Credit: Taban Robert Aggrey, capturing journalist training attendees in Juba, South Sudan.