JIBILIKA Dance Trust creative director, Nyaradzo Francisca Nhongonhema yesterday said this year’s edition of the Step up 2 HIV initiative will be rolled out to rural areas after the trust received funds from the United States President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar).
BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
Nhongonhema said this would be their first time to have the dance and music campaign, meant to stir young people to engage in constructive dialogue on sexual reproductive health through art, in rural outposts.
This year’s edition of the youth-cultured event will run under the theme Amplified.
“The first phase of the programme roared to life a fortnight ago in Bulawayo and will run for eight months across the country,” Nhongonhema said.
“With this initiative, we will be engaging the youths using mediums that they are fascinated with outside the classroom setting such as art, including hip-hop and dancehall elements, as a way to empower young people’s voices for an Aids-free generation.”
Nhongonhema said that they were overwhelmed by the support offered by the US government through Pepfar and other partners in assisting the youths to advocate for an Aids-free generation.
“Jibilika will use its creative appeal to mobilise and engage young people, while implementing partners will be providing various services such as counselling, testing, male circumcision and related services,” she said.
“In an effort to make a broader appeal, the project will develop multimedia toolkits such as songs and videos to reach youths around the country.”
She said the initiative has equipped youths with the necessary skills and knowledge to enable them to live positively and become Aids activists and peer educators in their schools and communities.
The Step Up 2 HIV project was started in 2013 following the hosting of the Jibilika Dance Festival the previous year under the project’s theme.