H.E. Benjamin William Mkapa- Former President of the United Republic of Tanzania hosts an interactive Youth Dialogue

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, October 2015 — H.E. Benjamin William Mkapa-Former President of the United Republic of Tanzania holds a dialogue with the youth of Tanzania.

In his opening remarks H.E. Mkapa encouraged the youth to have an open and free conversation with him. President Mkapa explained that beyond being a political leader he was a father and a grandfather, therefore the future health of the youth of Tanzania is personally important to him.

“What kind of future can they have, if they start off with all kinds of infections; between malaria, HIV, polio and others, how do we tackle these problems? These are matters of concern to me. But for a poor country I think the best way to combat disease is to prevent it.” H.E. Benjamin Mkapa

The youth were represented by a strong well rounded group who raised a diverse number of highly critical issues. Some of the issues brought up for discussion were having youth friendly services. The absences of youth friendly services were seen as a deterrent to young people seeking counselling and prevention services.

Another critical topic that was raised was female genital mutilation. “In Tanzania, risky traditional practices are still going on, for instance female genital mutilation, polygamy and inheritance of widows, would you have suggestions on how we as young leaders and you as Champions could work together to reduce or altogether eradicate this problem not just raising awareness alone” Mercy Kyando- TAYOA

It was a fruitful dialogue which addressed a varied number of key areas critical areas ranging from testing to youth centres to traditional factors to may play a factor in HIV infection rates.

 

Champions for an AIDS Free Generation, was first launched in 2008 by His Excellency Festus Mogae, the Former President of the Republic of Botswana. The Champions programme works to ensure that all children are born free from HIV in Africa and that all people have access to quality HIV prevention and treatment services. 

The Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation in Africa (The Champions) are keenly aware of the data on new HIV infections which tells a story of rising figures within the youth cohort across the continent.            

Equipped with this strategic information, the Champions prioritized the collaboration with, and engagement of, young people into the regional AIDS response. To do this effectively, they recognised the need to consult, interact with and listen to the views of young people. This understanding gave rise to the Youth Dialogues with The Champions series.

In keeping with their mandate, the Champions identified the engagement of youth, and youth leadership, as an effective means to ensure the health, well-being and rights of all young people.

In their advocacy outreach, the Champions intend to use their voice, status and platform to promote youth leadership, strategic partnering and collaboration with youth groups to develop HIV programmes that are youth friendly, sensitive and accessible to all young people.

 

 

The Championsare:

  • Festus Mogae, former President of Botswana and Chairman of the Champions
  • Joyce Banda, former President of Malawi
  • Edwin Cameron, South Africa Supreme Court of Appeal Judge
  • Joaquim A. Chissano, former President of Mozambique
  • Kenneth D. Kaunda, former President of Zambia
  • Alpha Oumar Konaré, former President of Mali
  • Benjamin Mkapa, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania
  • Kgalema Motlanthe, former Deputy President of South Africa
  • Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria
  • Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus Cape Town and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
  • Speciosa Wandira-Kasibwe, former Vice President of Uganda  
  • Miriam Were, former Chairperson of the Kenya National AIDS Control Council
  • Hifikepunye Pohamba, former President of Namibia

 

Contact

Champions Secretariat Gaborone | Makhamokha Mohale | +267 77445592 or +267 74166804; | mohalem@unaids.org

 

Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation

The Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation is a distinguished group of former presidents and influential African leaders committed to an AIDS-free generation. Individually and collectively, the Champions rally and support regional leaders towards ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat. The Champions transcend political partisanship to speak freely and independently about the issues that need solutions, both publically and behind the scenes. www.aidsfreechampions.org