THE United States Embassy in Harare, through the United States President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR), has renewed its support towards Jibilika Dance Trust’s youth HIV awareness programme Step Up 2 HIV.
The project which was launched in 2012 with support from PEPFAR is a dance and music project that engages young people in promoting an HIV and Aids free generation using popular youth culture as a medium to “step up” the fight against the pandemic.
Last year, the project was active in 12 schools and seven communities in the capital raising awareness and engaging with more than 11 400 youths.
Speaking to NewsDay, Jibilika Dance Trust projects director Plot Mhako said they were overwhelmed by the support rendered by the US government.
“Step Up 2 HIV uses mediums that young people are interested in outside of the classroom such as elements of hip hop and dancehall as the bridge to teach them about HIV and Aids issues empowering them with the knowledge, tools and opportunity to use their own art and ideas as a way to empower their voices for an aids free generation,” Mhako said.
“Jibilika realises that without access to the right information and services young people will continue to be exposed to more dancers of contracting STI’s and HIV hence our programing has been tailor made for our target societies for information acquisition, information for empowerment and information for decision making.”
Mhako said Jibilika Dance Trust will produce and present Step Up 2 HIV dance and music performances in at least 30 schools and 10 communities in Harare, Mutare, Bulawayo, Masvingo and Gweru.
“The performances will be on issues around HIV prevention and sexual reproductive health. School clubs and community peer groups will be established and empowered to replicate the campaign,” he said.
“The performances will stimulate discussions on the HIV and AIDS, sex and sexuality issues and encourage young people to step up the fight against the deadly diseases.”
Last year, Jibilika Trust was awarded with the Best Positive Social Impact award at the Zimbabwe Hip-Hop Awards.
PEPFAR has pledged $95 million dollars towards the response to HIV and Aids in Zimbabwe for the year 2014.