NACA Launches "Wise Up" Campaign
Botswana, Palapye, 2 September 2011: The start of spring filled the village of Palapye with hope as people from different walks of life gathered at the Palapye Technical College for the Wise Up campaign launch. The 2nd of September marked the launch of a campaign targeted towards youth. Every agenda item was light and fun emphasizing the significance of the Wise Up campaign in relation to the challenges of HIV on young people’s lives.
Wise Up Campaign
The campaign is led by the National AIDS Coordination Agency (NACA) in partnership with UNICEF. It provides age appropriate, gender sensitive HIV and AIDS information to young people aged 10-24 years. The focus of the messages will be to provide the basic facts about modes of HIV transmission, ways of avoiding infection, and misconceptions about HIV transmission. Furthermore, the campaign will increase young people’s knowledge and awareness of HIV infection risks and vulnerabilities such as age disparate sex and multiple concurrent partners.
Keys messages will be sent through radio, cellphone text messages and face book discussions.
When officially launching the Wise Up campaign, Kgosi Thabo Maruje Masunga emphasized that the Wise Up campaign aims to ensure that young people become smarter with their sexuality in a world of HIV, and that it will go a long way in addressing young people’s gap in comprehensive knowledge on HIV/AIDS.
Other key speakers included the UNICEF Representative Dr. Doreen Mulenga, who stipulated that the launch was a clear expression of the Government of Botswana’s commitment and desire to keep its promise of attaining the target of zero new infections in Botswana. Dr Mulenga likened the effort to a ‘marathon’ rather than a sprint and was happy to note that government has put in place frameworks and plans to ensure that the marathon is run well and completed.
Dr Mulenga encouraged parents, caregivers and community members to be good role models and to do their part to keep children and young people safe by ensuring they have access to correct information on HIV. She further urged the young, whatever their circumstances, to take responsibility for their own health and destiny by choosing to get the right information on HIV and AIDS through the Wise Up Campaign.
The UNICEF Representative finally reiterated that UNICEF, on behalf of the UN system in Botswana, recognises adolescence as “as an age of opportunity” in which we need to invest if we are to fulfil our commitments to children and young people and earnestly pursue our pledge to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.