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Namibian Digital Diarist talks to other young people about AIDS

© UNICEF video
UNICEF Radio Digital Diarist Livey Van Wyk of Namibia.

By Blue Chevigny

NEW YORK, USA, 17 January 2007 – In her latest Digital Diary, UNICEF Radio youth reporter Livey Van Wyk, 21, takes her recording equipment into the streets and youth centres of her community outside Windhoek, Namibia. She asks young people to talk to her about their country’s future and their thoughts about HIV/AIDS.

“It would be better if education was available to everyone – all girls and women, especially those who don’t have anything valuable to do with their lives,” she says, speaking into a recorder supplied by UNICEF to help her share her insights and experiences.

Livey goes on to interview two young men about the importance of education and how it intersects with HIV/AIDS prevention in Namibia.

Learning from others’ mistakes

Gregor, 18, says he thinks there is still a lot of misinformation among young people there. “They think if a person is infected they have to isolate themselves from that person,” he says. “And actually, there’s no one to blame. We all have to learn from each other’s mistakes and our own mistakes.”

John, 17, talks about the need to reallocate resources to address the AIDS crisis. “Namibia’s not a poor country,” he says. “We do have a lot. We have to use our resources to help out the poor communities. We have to look out for each other.”

John adds that youths need to be more involved at high levels of decision-making. “To be involved at an early age, that’s the best,” he says.

Livey’s story

This is the second instalment of Livey’s Digital Diary, recorded by a young person who has a distinct voice and a unique way of seeing the world. Livey is living with HIV in Katutura, Namibia, where she has experienced stigma and discrimination because of her HIV status.

“I have lost many things while having been infected,” she says. “I lost my parents, my family – not that they died, but they have decided they don’t want anything to do with me. I lost my friends. I lost my school. It’s difficult.”

Livey has done a lot to educate other young people about HIV/AIDS. “When I go out to youth, I tell them that HIV can also affect them. I also share with them that it’s not easy to live with the virus because you face many challenges,” she says.

Interviews and conversations
Starting in early 2006 – as part of her effort to reach out with her message and help prevent HIV and AIDS – Livey started a Digital Diary for UNICEF Radio and Voices of Youth, UNICEF’s global online forum for children and adolescents.

She began recording interviews and conversations with other young people in her community as they went about their everyday activities. Using a mini-disc recorder and microphone, she asked them to tell her what they knew about HIV and AIDS, and what they planned to do in the future to help stem the tide of the disease.

The Digital Diaries project allows young people with interesting voices and lives to represent their own experience and produce their own stories.




15 January 2007:
UNICEF Radio Digital Diarist Livey Van Wyk of Namibia discusses the need to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS in her country.
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