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For artistes working on HIV/AIDS, lifeline from MTV

Posted by By Chuka Nnabuife on 2006/01/22 | Views: 608 |

For artistes working on HIV/AIDS, lifeline from MTV


SOME artistes who have distinguished themselves through the use of their talents in creating awareness the HIV and AIDS scourge where recently honoured by the global television entertainment channel, MTV Networks International through its affiliate charity, the Staying Alive Foundation.

SOME artistes who have distinguished themselves through the use of their talents in creating awareness the HIV and AIDS scourge where recently honoured by the global television entertainment channel, MTV Networks International through its affiliate charity, the Staying Alive Foundation. Seven Nigerian young artistes were among the 25 persons and four youth-focused health organisations selected from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America to win the awards whose total worth is$33,500 (U.S. dollars).

The awards came as part of the multi-national broadcast firm's ongoing campaign to combat HIV and AIDS. According to the authorities of MTV Networks International the formation of Staying Alive Foundation, a global grant and advocacy organisation, is to empower young artists to evolve creative and effective strategies to tackle the epidemic which is fast eroding a large chunk of the world's talents and work force.

Made possible by a contribution from the MAC AIDS, the Fund is specifically intended to benefit youths within the ages of 12 and 24, who are engaged in grassroots HIV and AIDS prevention efforts. Hence the 25 persons who received the grants are expected to use the money in the continuation of their work, to strengthen their efforts, and to inspire others to get involved in such campaigns.

Vice Chairman, MTV Networks, and Ambassador for UNAIDS MTV, Bill Roedy, believes "in the power of youth" because "one person can mobilise thousands to become leaders in building a future free from HIV and AIDS." He informed that "through The Staying Alive Foundation his organisation's intention is to reach out to youths on their terms while assisting in the continuation of their critical HIV and AIDS prevention efforts. This marks the beginning of a long-term commitment to help enable youth lead and inspire others in fighting HIV and AIDS at the grassroots level."

John Demsey, Chairman-M.A.C. AIDS Fund and Global President- MAC Cosmetics said the MAC AIDS Fund's support for The Staying Alive Awards is as a result of their confidence that the grants will empower youths to change how their peers perceive the virus.

Formed in January 2005 the Staying Alive Foundation is intended to encourage young people to take concrete action in protecting themselves and their communities against the threats posed by the spread of HIV and AIDS epidemic, and to fight discrimination faced by people of all ages living with HIV and AIDS. The Foundation is an international not-for-profit public charity that operates in affiliation with but separately from MTV Networks International. Organisers informed that the Foundation also acts separately from but mirrors the objectives of the company's award winning HIV and AIDS prevention campaign, Staying Alive.

Recipients of the Staying Alive Awards in Africa include Nigerian, Kenyan, Tanzanian, Algerian, Sudanese and Ugandan artistes. There were also artistes from Ghana and Zambia.

Seven artistes from Nigeria won the award. They include Eunice Aghete, 20, a volunteer with Education Vaccine Against AIDS and 20 year old Onyeka Geraldine Bako who works with Good Neighbour's Making A Change: Leadership, which trains football captains to lead and educate members of their club on HIV and AIDS. Hanatu Bawa, 24, who interprets HIV and AIDS interventions into local languages for uneducated women as part of the Local Voices Project with Unique AIDS Control Organisation also got the award.

The grant equally went to 24 year old Kingsley Esomeonu, a volunteers with Youngies, a program that harnesses arts and creativity to curb the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS as well as promote safe s-x among youths. Teenager David Habba, who works with a local radio to establish a weekly phone in radio program on HIV and AIDS campaign also won. Similarly, 22 year old Ibiye Lawson, a volunteers with the Community Empowerment Initiative which organises In-School/Community

Peer Health training on HIV and AIDS and 23 year old Onyinye Ndubuisi, who uses peer education to trains and builds the capacity of young people, as part of the Economic and Social Empowerment of Rural Communities, to protect themselves from HIV and AIDS for behavioural change. Twenty three year old Algerian actress, Hakima Djouadi. She is a volunteer with AIDS Algeria, which uses local theatre to teach how HIV and AIDS is transmitted and the methods of protection.

From Ghana, Elvis Donkoh, 23, who helps the Passion for Life Project train youth as community HIV and AIDS volunteers and offers free voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) services also got the award.

Kenyan, recipient Gilbert Makanda Murasi, a 23 year old, is a member of Talking Horn Theatre Club, a community-based organisation that uses participatory theatre to educate youth and community members on HIV and AIDS and reproductive health. Fredrick Ouka, 23, a member of Kibera Community Youth Programme, an organisation that uses plays, poems, songs and dance to deliver HIV and AIDS education in an "edutaining" way to instil easy learning is also one of the winners from Kenya.

From Sudan, Musab Mahmmoud Fadi ElMula, 22, a student at El Gezira University who trains students on HIV and AIDS prevention and how to start prevention clubs was picked.

Tanzania had Makoti Edwin, 21 while Togo had 23 year old Sewa Kwami Fumey who works with Volunteers Without Borders.

Other winners include Masembe Paddy of Uganda while the two Zambian recipients are

Simui Adam, 22 and Bernard Mwansa Chindoloma, 20. In Zimbabwe, Belinda Ngwadzai, 21 of International Video Fair Trust also got the grant.

Some youth-focused health organisations in the continent also got the Staying Alive Awards. Among them is Tanzania based African Regional Youth Initiative which provides access to education for children residing in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia whose lives have been transformed as a result of their parent's dying as a result of HIV and AIDS. Uganda's The Student Partnership Worldwide's Health Education Program which recruits, trains and supports Ugandan peer educators enabling 45,000 rural youth to receive sustained, comprehensive HIV and AIDS prevention programs also got some funding.

Staying Alive Campaign was launched in 1998. It is a multimedia global HIV and AIDS prevention campaign that challenges stigma and discrimination associated with HIV and AIDS as well as empowers young people to protect themselves from infection.

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