Apr 11, 2014, 9:56 AM
The Nova-Scotia Gambia Association, in collaboration with ActionAid International The Gambia, at the weekend held a daylong inter-schools drama competition on HIV/AIDS and life skills involving selected senior and upper basic schools in Region 5, at Armitage Senior Secondary School in Janjangbureh, Central River Region south.
Speaking shortly before the commencement of the competition, Joseph Demba, programme manager, said the scourge of HIV/AIDS is no story and the threat is clear and present.
The Gambia has joined the rest of the world in the fight against the deadly disease, which requires collective efforts from all and sundry including the government and the private sector and NGOs, who are complementing the efforts of the government in this area.
“As an association we target the school-going children, who are the future duty-bearers of this country, to sensitize them on the epidemic through peer health educators’ structures in schools,” Mr Demba said.
According to him, sub-Saharan Africa constituted a little more than 10% of the world population, but has over 70% of HIV and AIDS cases.
The Global Fund based in Switzerland had for a long time been supporting the globe including The Gambia to reduce and eliminate the epidemic.
This, he said, can only be achieved through the collaborative efforts of every stakeholder.
The idea of the competition was construed years ago by the NSGA, which led to the formation of peer health educators groups to sensitize students through their colleagues on the dangers of the epidemic, the stigma and discrimination associated with it, its prevention methods and related issues.
Sulayman Kinteh, procurement specialist of ActionAid, said the competition will bring about attitudinal change using the behavioral change, information, education and communication skills.
Action Aid International The Gambia is a recipient of Global Fund for sensitization on HIV/AIDS, which in turn also supports the NSGA to embark on sensitization on HIV/AIDS through its peer health educators in selected schools using basic information about the disease.
He commended the NSGA for what he described as a successful task, assuring them of close collaboration to ensure the desired goals are achieved.
For his part, Yankuba Bojang, NSGA CRR regional coordinator, said the competition is in two folds: regional and national, and the winners from these categories will represent their regions at the national level in the senior and upper basic schools.
He said the competition is an annual activity aimed at measuring the level of students’ understanding about the epidemic, which does not affect their academic performance in school.
He thanked the principals and staff of the schools for allowing their children to take part in the competition, with special thanks to the administration of Armitage School for hosting the event and Action Aid International The Gambia for funding the occasion with support from Global Fund.
In the senior school category, Armitage Sen. Sec. Sch. emerged the winners and collected D2,000 with certificates, followed by Bansang Sen. Sec. School, who took second and received D1, 500 with certificates, whilst Kaur Sen. Sec. School took third position and were given D1,000 with certificates.
In the upper basic school category, Janjanbureh Upper Basic took first and collected D2,000 with certificates, followed by Bansang Upper Basic in second position and received D1,500 with certificates, whilst Kunting Basic Cycle took third and collected D1,000 with certificates.
The head of the judges, Malang Sambou, revealed the results at the end of the competition.