Youth Community Advisory Board Education Fund - Moshi, Tanzania
The Moshi Health Youth Community Advisory Board is a group of adolescents aged 13-26 years who pair HIV-infected persons with peer mentors. The group meets once/month and discusses topics pertinent to HIV/AIDS and other health issues. These include but are not limited to Medication Adherence, Medication Side Effects, Myths of HIV, Stigma & Discrimination, Disclosure and other diseases that cause Stigma. They also discuss “difficult topics” such as depression, sexuality, rape and forced sex, pregnancy, and transitions to adulthood, entrepreneurship and jobs. Finally, the group works together to promote friendship and team spirit amongst the members. The group has presented one forum on Stigma, has participated in art festivals and each year in the Kilimanjaro Marathon. The group has recorded songs that demonstrate their commitment to one another. The group also works with the Mawenzi and KCMC Hospitals Teen Clubs on specific projects that demonstrate their dedication to normalizing relationships with HIV-infected young people.
In 2017, seven members of the group participated in a 5-day leadership training in which they learned facilitation skills that they can use in group meetings. As members “age out” of the Youth CAB they are encouraged to continue their contributions through the larger KCMC Health Project’s Community Advisory Board.
These two women interviewed are leaders speaking about the importance of the CAB activities in the community. They are stressing that the youth need to have a separate space to discuss their issues around HIV and invite other youth to learn and talk together about all of the issues that CAB addresses.