Online Youth Participation in HIV/AIDS Prevention, November 24. 2010

When? November 24. 2010
Where? Naskov dvorec, Maribor

The symposium has been organised by (ACE) KIBLA Association for Culture and Education within the project Online Youth Participation in HIV/AIDS Prevention. The project is an international one, integrating 7 partner organisations from Bulgaria, Latvia, Slovenia, Sierra Leone and Uganda. Its main aim is to develop an innovative range of youth workers and trainers suited multimedia web games on aspects of preventing the HIV virus / AIDS. It is also oriented into the development of new methods for training young people with fewer opportunities (coming from Africa), with a view to increase their awareness on the prevention of the HIV virus and increase their participation in achieving one of the millennium development goals (MDG 6).

Program – Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Opening, Project presentation and evaluation of the project


Lunch Break

13.00 – 17.00

Workshop – the use of online games and applications in youth projects; meeting with the representatives of organizations from Slovenia interested in cooperation; ideas for project cooperation in the future

Photos (author Boštjan Lah)


The conference Online Youth Participation in HIV/AIDS Prevention

Freetown, Sierra Leone, 20th–26th September 2010

African colours, smells, tastes, sounds and the beat of the people incur a change in you; this is no “Africa from TV”. It is not possible to speak of a unified Africa. The sub-Saharan Africa is completely different from northern Africa, where – it has to be said – you hardly ever meet a black person.

Between 20th and 26th September, the conference Online Youth Participation in HIV/AIDS Prevention was held in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. This is one of the world's poorest countries, still shadowed by the tragedies originating in the civil war that ended about nine years ago. However, the positive energy and vitality of the locals easily leave you at a loss for words.

Sao: “I’m 26, I teach people in my community read and write. I finish school with 10, I wana study business in Freetown. My mom and dad were killed in war. I was 14, my sister 7 years old. It was nice Sunday morning. They kill both. I’m alone with sis now.
Dejan: “How much do you earn with teaching?”
Sao” 20 or 30.000 leones and something to eat, water, rice, anything is good. (cheapest beer costs 6.000 leones!)
Dejan: “What is your strongest desire?”
Sao: “To learn. I wana learn and educate so much! I wana study! I earn mony to pay the room (5 pint 4 m2, no water, no bathroom, approximately 70 USD per year), I buy TV, computer, and DVD player. 2 semesters of study is 300 USD. I don’t have health insurance and no passport yet.”

Hopefully this introduction has not dispirited or depressed you. Africa knows no depression (which is a disease of the contemporary developed world). As Paul, a medicine student, has put it nicely: “Depression relates to the past, whereas melancholy relates to the future. Therefore we carry the 'waka, waka' energy in us, which means 'walk, walk', forget about the past, yours is a bright future!” 'Waka, waka' means a smile on your face each morning!

Both, Sao and Paul were among numerous participants of the conference. Very active. As a matter of fact, all local participants presented thoroughly the conditions, in which young people, students and NGO activists work. It is all based on voluntary activity. The only people that are well paid are European and/or US experts and counsellors operating within various programmes and projects to aid the poorest African countries.

The HIV/AIDS issue is not at the core of the problem in Sierra Leone. The key problems are a lack of knowledge as well as spatial, technological and information infrastructure. Power blackouts occur from 15 to 30 times a day and there is no know-how. Personal computers are no problem, the modus operandi of the second-hand trade between the West and Africa being: what is not needed anymore, is transported to Africa – the world's dump. It is not possible to buy a new car in Sierra Leone.

In Freetown, representatives of both partners (West Africa Youth Network – WAYN and UNESCO Club SL) used power-point presentations to deliver the abundant data on the infection rate and what is being done about it. They focused on the poorest communities in the countryside and in Freetown (the so-called “slums”), where there is a lack of water, food... People are illiterate, many of them, particularly young people, have no idea where they are coming from, when they were born...

Dejan: “Your presentation and statistics as well as efforts by the government and NGO's are very valuable to us, but we would like to visit these areas.”
Alisson (president of WAYN): “This is not possible, as no one can guarantee your safety.”

Following three days of negotiations, a guided tour of poorest and most underprivileged areas in Freetown was finally arranged. Alisson took the responsibility. Niki, Lauma, Saidu, Etta and Dejan set off to a Sunday afternoon walk around the slums of Freetown. Photos of these areas are unfortunately not available. Anyone possessing at least a tiny fraction of compassion simply cannot take photos, where people live in complete humiliation.

Also part of the conference's programme was a guided tour of the National chimpanzee conservation park. The park is located quite deep in the jungle around 100 km from Freetown.

“Welcome to the Sierra Leone National chimpanzee conservation park. Only 30 years ago, there were approximately 100,000 chimps living in natural habitats of Sierra Leone. Based on our sensors we predict that today there are only about 1000. Two years ago the authorities managed to prove the guilt of a doctor that led the chimpanzee trade: in 25 years he managed to sell around 80,000 chimpanzees to Western laboratories, pharmaceutical companies and rich individuals. It is our mission to help such chimpanzees to live in the natural environment again by means of an expert programme. At the moment, the park hosts 110 chimpanzees, the majority of them coming from the USA, Europe, Asia... They are very “civilised” creatures. Most of them lived in luxurious villas, wearing the latest Milan fashion. They watched TV serials and Disney cartoons. Many of them also lived a full sexual life. All the chimpanzees that we manage to save are also tested for HIV and AIDS. Approximately 30 per cent are infected.”

After visiting the park we went to the wonderful Atlantic coast, where the locals welcomed us with an unforgettable meal: grilled fish, rice and coconut wine.

The conference was wrapped up with the final party organised by the African partners. The performance of and ethno music&dance group and the party complete the picture. People with so much positive energy, optimism and love of live are not to be found elsewhere on earth. While dancing, Saidu hugged me enthusiastically and said: “My dear bro, I see you yesterday go to church to pray. I know you pray for us! I feel it! Today is my first time I drink orange juice from tetrapack.”  By the way, Saidu is a volunteer activist at WAYN, currently arranging his documents to enter a university in Freetown. He will study political sciences. A similar story: peels, a handful of rice, melancholy and waka, waka. Oh, have I told you that they practically don't have suicides?

Our project will keep growing, its main objective being to develop an innovative series of online multimedia games exploring the aspects of fighting HIV/AIDS, which should be suitable for youth workers and trainers. The project also focuses on developing new methods for training young people with fewer opportunities (coming from Africa). The aim is to increase their awareness on preventing HIV and their participation in fulfilling one of the development goals (MDG 6). There is a lot to be done, but our Freetown hosts have inspired us with their energy like no one before. They have the rhythm, they have the style like no one else. This is all they have and no one can take it from them.

Waka, waka Africa! We shall meet in Maribor on 24th and 25th November at the symposium Online Youth participation in HIV/AIDS Prevention within KIBLIX Festival. At the occasion, we will outline the activities of our future cooperation to make the project results as effective as possible. Kindly welcome. What will be your contribution?!

Dejan Pestotnik and Nikola Stojanovič

SCAS, Sofia, Bulgaria (
NSICC, Sofia, Bulgaria
WAYN - West African Youth Network, Freetown, Sierra Leone (
NNEK - UNESCO, Freetown, Sierra Leone
Youth against AIDS, Latvia
RISE, Uganda
KID KIBLA, Maribor, Slovenia (

Photos Freetown september 2010 (Archive KIBLA)

Youth e-collaboration in HIV/AIDS prevention

NSICC, Sofia, Bulgaria
Youth against AIDS, Latvia
RISE, Uganda
ACE Kibla, Maribor, Slovenia

The main aim of Youth e-collaboration in HIV/AIDS prevention project is to develop an innovative set of multimedia online games covering the HIV/AIDS prevention aspects and suitable for youth workers and youth trainers. Also it aims to develop new methods for training of young people with fewer opportunities (from Africa) in order to raise their awareness of HIV prevention and increase their participation in achieving one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG 6). Last but not least the project will propose special collaborative e-game methods for working with the young people.

The project addresses the priorities of “Youth in Action” programme” namely inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities via training African youth workers and youth trainers (from countries highly affected by HIV/AIDS) in how to use modern media and especially online gaming tools during non-formal youth activities. It addresses the priority themes via contributing one of the Millennium Development Goal “Combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases”; It promotes cooperation between Programme countries and other countries.

The project objectives are:
- To develop a new set of online multimedia games exploring the topics of HIV/AIDS prevention suitable for non-formal training of young people;
- To develop new methods of training (via collaborative online games) that could be used by the youth trainers and youth workers;
- To promote the cooperation between European and African youth organizations and youth centers working in the sphere of non-formal youth training; The project will also facilitate the exchange of experience and strengthen European-African dialogue in the youth field, as well as acquaint African youth organizations with the methods and principle of the “Youth in Action” programme;
- To raise  the awareness of the young people in one very important problem nowadays, HIV/AIDS spreading among youngsters by using new media and in this way to contribute to one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG 6);
- To train youth workers, youth trainers and youth leaders via including them in specific training events (training course, contact seminar, online course) and via producing concrete training tools;

Activities foreseen: 
- HIV/AIDS game-based resource platform and an online training course for youth workers and trainers;
- 2 interactive e-games on the topic of HIV/AIDS and online training for youth workers;
- 1 international Training course  and 1 international Contact making seminar;
- Manual “HIV/AIDS platform and collaborative gaming in youth work”;
- CD with off line version of the collaborative games;
- partner meetings;

Venues of the main activities: Sofia (Bulgaria); Freetown (Sierra Leone) and Kampala (Uganda). 7 partners from 3 EU countries (Bulgaria, Slovenia and Latvia) and 2 African – Sierra Leone and Uganda.

Number of participants: 190 youth workers and trainers, 100 young people and the staff involved.
Tangible results:
- Online training platform with online course and 2 online collaborative games (concerning HIV/AIDS prevention);
- 190 trained youth workers, youth trainers, youth leaders;
- 100 trained young people;
- more than 4000 persons will visit the HIV/AIDS platform during the project duration;
- organizing youth training course, contact making seminar and meetings related to the project topic;
- 200 youth organizations, NGOs, centres in Europe and Africa will be provided with information about the project - 100 of these will receive packages with project products;
- 500 copies of the Manual "HIV/AIDS platform and collaborative gaming in youth work" printed in English (versions in krio and luganda will be available for download as e-books on the platform);
- 100 copies of the poster for the contact-making seminar "Youth collaboration on HIV/AIDS prevention" , - 100 copies of the poster for the training course "Implementation of game-based HIV/AIDS prevention strategy" and 250 copies of the CD.

Dissemination strategy is deemed as very important, and that is why there is a special Work Package dedicated to it. It encompasses more than 190 directly trained youth workers/leaders/trainers, 100 directly involved youth, 100 youth organizations receved the products and more than 4 000 indirect beneficiaries.

Short term: Increased competences of youth workers and youth trainers; innovative e-based tools for young people to use when contemplating or dealing with the issue of HIV/AIDS; Developed EU-Africa youth cooperation.
Long term: increased motivation of youth to think more about issues such as HIV/AIDS and respectively take action in view of coping with such issues and problems; Encouraged collaboration.

Meeting & contact seminar, Sofia (Bulgaria), 18.3. - 21.3.2010



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