Lack of opportunity and capacity for young people from key populations to effectively participate in the response to HIV has been a barrier for youth engagement. The NewGen leadership and communication short-course addresses this concern with a bottom-up and capacity building response. After successful rollouts in Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines in 2012, the NewGen curriculum has been revised to include components on HIV, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and Strategic Information (SI). In an effort to integrate HIV and SRHR, NewGen focuses on the importance of linking HIV and SRHR in order to increase the effectiveness of the global response to the HIV epidemic. The original curriculum was revised based on feedback from participants, and the new curriculum was piloted in Brunei in March 2014.
The NewGen curriculum includes monitoring and evaluation, daily feedback reports and individual and collective reflections at the beginning and end of each day. During the NewGen training in Brunei, participants exhibited a systemic shift towards improved leadership skills and heightened confidence while public speaking. Participants praised the curriculum’s innovative, engaging and youth-led approach, making it easy to discuss sensitive issues, such as stigma and discrimination, the difference between risky behaviors and risk groups and being assertive. Moreover, all participants reported that NewGen had educated them, giving them a new perspective on sensitive issues and had enabled them to forge new bonds and create new friendships. NewGen is highly successful in bringing young people from key populations together, where participants can collaborate, share ideas and create a joint platform for advocacy and change.
Following the NewGen rollout in Brunei, Youth LEAD’s most recent NewGen workshop occurred at the end of April in Bangladesh. Partnering with HIV/AIDS Alliance’s Link Up project, Youth LEAD was able to capitalize on the expertise, knowledge and in-country presence of the organization, to mobilize and empower youth. In addition to the presence of Youth LEAD focal points, local Link Up partner, HASAB assisted in culminating an engaging, enlightening and empowering short course. While 30 young people from key populations affected by HIV and AIDS participated in the short course, issues of marginalization, isolation and other cross-cutting themes highlighted the need for vulnerable youth to access HIV prevention and care services. Participants spent five days strengthening leadership and communication skills, which are vital to meaningful engagement in the HIV response, and components on HIV and SRHR emphasized tangible skills for mobilization and leadership. The NewGen rollout in Bangladesh was successful in strengthening networks and fostering youth-youth and youth-adult relationships, which will surely be used as a roll model in moving forward. The success of NewGen has witnessed the empowerment of YKP and the rise of young leaders, and remains an effective education tool in generating change. Moving forward, participants and youth leaders will strategize and form a group of national activists in Bangladesh to ensure that their voices and concerns are adequately represented in a variety of decision-making forums, such as the New Funding Model process of the Global Fund.
For more information, please visit www.youth-lead.org/ or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Watch the short video of the pilot project to understand how Youth LEAD works directly with YKP’s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtZu0H_UzJc.