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© UNICEF Angola/2005/Devries
The Angola launch took place at the main sports pavilion in Luanda. Around 9,000 people attended the event.

LUANDA, Angola, 5 DECEMBER 2005 – The Angolan Government, UNICEF and other partners celebrated the launch of the UNITE FOR CHILDREN  UNITE AGAINST AIDS campaign with a festival of youth theatre and music. The festival was attended by an estimated 9,000 students, as well as by senior representatives from government, NGOs, the UN and the donor community.

The campaign seeks to focus countrywide attention to the threat posed by HIV/AIDS to children, and to mobilize resources for care, protection, prevention and treatment for children and young people.

“This world initiative is unfolding here in Angola with a series of practical actions,” said UNICEF representative in Angola Mario Ferrari. “The event we are celebrating today, with the participation of so many adolescents and youngsters from all provinces, shows that Angola is answering the global appeal with concrete actions of great consequence.”

“Our country endured almost 30 years of war,” said Valdemar Teixeira, 11, a student from Benguela province, at the festival’s close. “Today we have another threat to our lives: AIDS. Dear friends, the salvation is in our hands. Let’s put in practice what we have learned at school about HIV/AIDS.” 

© UNICEF Angola/2005/Mendonça
A group of students perform their sketch at the festival. The sketches were part of a nationwide theatre competition about HIV/AIDS.

Competition and education

The festival, held last Thursday at the main gymnasium and sports pavilion in Luanda, was the culmination of a nationwide theatre competition about HIV/AIDS that began on 5 September. The competition reached out to 590,000 secondary school students ages 9-18 all over the country.

The top three schools in the competition were awarded prizes of books, sports and game equipment. Other competitors received participation diplomas and books.

As part of the educational effort accompanying the competition, about 1.2 million booklets providing information on HIV/AIDS prevention were distributed to students. Classes emphasized reading, writing and student participation.

Only the beginning

The effort in schools was implemented by the Ministry of Education and UNICEF in partnership with the Ministry of Health, UNAIDS, provincial governments, NGOs and other partners. The main objective was to increase the level of knowledge and awareness of HIV/AIDS among children and youth so that they can make informed choices about their own attitudes and behaviors.

The HIV/AIDS educational effort will continue next year. Each secondary school has created an HIV/AIDS and Gender Club. The Clubs will help connect adolescents, youth and their communities with government policies and programmes on HIV/AIDS. The Clubs seek to promote awareness and prevention of HIV/AIDS, and to help fight stigma and discrimination.








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