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UNICEF launches online Swahili game for HIV prevention

One of the first computer games in Swahili addresses young people and AIDS

NAIROBI, 30 October 2006 – UNICEF launched its first interactive feature in Swahili today, an online game that empowers young people to make good life choices about and prevent HIV.  The game, called ‘Ungefanyaje’ or ‘What would you do?’ in Swahili, takes the player through a series of relationship-based scenarios that emphasize the importance of HIV prevention and testing.

“Translating the game into Swahili makes it accessible to East African adolescents and young people,” says Voices of Youth Coordinator Amber Oliver.  “By speaking openly about the threat that HIV and AIDS poses to young people, we can help give them the knowledge they need to keep them safe from infection.”

Although prevention is essential to half the spread of HIV/AIDS, an alarming 80 per cent of all young people still don’t know how to protect themselves from the virus.  Sub-Saharan Africa has been especially hard-hit by the epidemic.  “It is estimated that of the 2.3 million children under 15 living with HIV, two million are in sub-Saharan Africa,” says Oliver.  “Reaching young people with prevention education and services is a crucial step towards an AIDS-free generation.”

‘What would you do?’ can be accessed online in English and Swahili at https://www.unicef.org/voy/explore/aids/explore_1360.html

About Voices of Youth
Since 1995, VOY has focused on exploring the educational and community building potential of the Internet, and facilitating the active and substantive participation of young people on child rights and development related issues. Through web boards, interactive quizzes, youth leadership profiles, live chats and more, Voices of Youth provides thousands of young people from over 180 countries with an opportunity to self-inform, engage in lively debate, and partner—with their peers and decision makers—to create a world fit for children.

For 60 years UNICEF has been the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 156 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For more information, please contact:
Amber Oliver, Voices of Youth, UNICEF, aeoliver@unicef.org, +212-326-7050
Gerrit Beger, UNICEF Media, gbeger@unicef.org, +212-326-7116
Elizabeth Losleben, UNICEF Media, elosleben@unicef.org, +212-326-7172




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