|© UNICEF Oman/2005/ Nybo|
|Throughout Oman thousands of young Scouts and Guides are learning about the dangers of HIV/AIDS.|
By Thomas Nybo
MUSCAT, Oman, 25 January 2006 – The Sultanate of Oman is using its National Organization of Scouts and Guides as a vehicle to help raise awareness of HIV among its young people.
Over the past 30 years the number of Scouts and Guides in Oman has grown to about 25,000. Part of the World Scouting Organization , it trains leaders, promotes international friendship and encourages its boys and girls to improve their community. The move to educate them about HIV/AIDS – and spread the word among their peers – has won a hearty endorsement from UNICEF.
UNICEF Representative in Oman June Kunugi says, "Young people usually respond better to messages from their peers rather than from adults. I think it's part of this whole behavioral development – in this case using young people themselves as agents of change – or as people who can convince other young people to protect themselves to prevent HIV transmission."
The young Scouts and Guides learn the facts about HIV/AIDS in a variety of ways, including computer programmes and question and answer sessions.
Fifteen-year-old Marwa Munsoor recognizes the value of an open dialogue when it comes to HIV/AIDS. "Everyone in society should know about AIDS, especially young people, because we form the basis for the future," she says.
HIV/AIDS campaign links