The Network of Young People Living with HIV/AIDS (NYP+) in collaboration with the National Council of People Living with HIV(NACOPHA) through United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Support, organized a one-day introduction meeting for Fostering Young People Participation (FYPP) project in HIV Response towards attaining the National and Global targets of 95 95 95.
The official launch took place at Teofilo Kisanji University (TEKU) hall in Mbeya region on 29th July 2021, where the Guest of Honor was Mbeya Regional Medical Officer (RMO) Mr. Salum Manyata accompanied by Government leaders including Regional AIDS Coordinator of Mbeya, Council HIV/AIDS Coordinator (CHACC), Commissioner of TACAIDS Mbeya region (RCT) Mr. Emanuel Petro and UNICEF representative Mr. Said Othman.
During the launch the new project by the name of Fostering Young People Participation (FYPP) in HIV Response Project was introduced to key Government representatives under the presence of Mbeya Regional Medical Officers, Mbeya Regional AIDS Coordinator (RAC), and three Council HIV/AIDS Coordinators (CHAC) from Mbeya, Chunya and Kyela, to gain their support and collaboration during project implementation. This activity brought together 42 YPLHIV representatives (females: 22, males: 20) from 21 District councils of Mbeya, Njombe, Iringa, and Songwe regions that were sensitized about the project that would enhance their support to mobilizing and working with YPLHIV in their specific Councils.
NACOPHA Deputy Chief Executive Officer Ms. Scholastica Williams appreciated the Government of United Republic of Tanzania contribution and efforts in HIV response in Tanzania, as well the UNICEF support towards the FYPP project. She said that, the cooperation and collaboration with Government stakeholders and Young People Living with HIV in project implementation is an added advantage to smoothen project implementation and achieve intended outcome.
This activity created awareness about the project to Government and other stakeholders as well as gaining their commitment to support the project. However, 42 YPLHIV representatives were sensitized about the project and made ambassadors to mobilize fellow YPLHIV towards the formation of district chapters and Empowerment Groups.
Moreover, The Guest of honor Dr. Manyata in his speech cemented the importance of a meaningful engagement of YPLHIV for an effective and impactful HIV response interventions. He acknowledged UNICEF for the financial support in FYPP project and NACOPHA for putting initiatives in providing awareness on COVID-19 to PLHIV and community at large. He as well recognized Mbeya City PLHIV cluster leaders for providing awareness on COVID-19.
Furthermore, he responded to the request raised by YPLHIV regarding lack of sustainable incomes and advised YPLHIV to be aggressive in searching information and access to loans that being provided by the Councils.
He encouraged YPLHIV to contact NYP+ and NACOPHA for technical assistance in accessing these loans. He insisted that the Government is more than ready to collaborate with the NACOPHA and NYP+ in the project. Dr. Salum also advised the implementing team to corporate with other partners working in the Southern Highlands focusing on YPLHIV interventions. He concluded by a statement on calling upon Tanzanians to get vaccinated for COVID-19.
In addition, the UNICEF representative Mr. Said Othman explaining about UNICEF’s missions in supporting the Government of Tanzania in improving child welfare in Tanzania. UNICEF conducted research that aimed at assessing the challenges facing YPLHIV in schools. Some of the key findings from the research included limited access to healthcare services related to HIV, stigma and discrimination and so on, UNICEF believes in a meaningful engagement of YPLHIV for effective HIV response and that is one of the reasons why they support FYPP project.