80 adolescent girls in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State are currently receiving training in various skills as part of measures to empower them to enable them become self reliant and take their focus off any influence that may lead them into contracting HIV.
The skills acquisition training is part of activities by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Kaduna State Aids Control Agency (KADSACA) and Africa Network of Adolescents and Young Persons Development (ANAYD) to kick-start the 2017 “World AIDS Day” in the state, which comes up every 1st December.
The girls who were selected from the 12 wards of the LGA are expected at the end of the training to use the knowledge they will acquire to better their lives and that of their immediate families.
Some of the girls who spoke with our reporter expressed joy over what they see as their saving grace, especially with the current economic situation of the country.
Favour Jonathan and Precious Yakubu, in a separate interview said the training will afford them the opportunity to take charge of their future by providing for themselves and not depending on anyone for survival.
They therefore thank UNICEF, KADSACA and their partners for taking a step further from the regular testing and counseling during World AIDS Day and providing them with knowledge to secure their future.
Speaking at the training centre, Assistant Director, Prevention, Treatment, Care and Psychology, KADSACA, Virginia Bognet, said the adolescent girls were targeted because that age group has been left out for a very long time.
“We realized that HIV prevalence among the adults is reducing while it kept increasing among adolescents and young persons because they are not aware and not being sensitised on HIV related issues, they are very vulnerable. She added.
On his part, representative of ANAYD, Naankang Philip, noted that, though testing and counseling of the young persons is still part of the events to commemorate the day, but because of the vulnerability of the girl child to HIV, organiser saw the need to embark on the empowerment project to enable them to be able to take care of their basic needs.
“As you can see some of them, don’t even have money to pay for their transportation to this place, they can not do anything that involves finance for themselves, even money for medication they can not afford.
“So they are getting life skills they can fall back on at anytime to help themselves. Many of them will not want to come out for testing to know their status because of the fear of stigmatisation, but at the point of empowerment they get tested without stigma.” Naankang said.
The training which is taking place in seven LGAs of Chikun, Bini Gwari, Igabi, Jaba, Jema’a, Kagarko and Lere in the state, and supported by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Society for Family Health (SFH), Local AIDS Control Agency and Association of Positive Youths in Nigeria (APYIN) will see the beneficiaries acquire skills in Henna design, Beads Making, Makeover and Tying of Head Gear.
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