The Youth Pre-Conference has been incredible! Over 200 people from 95 countries, the energy and enthusiasm has been relentless, as is the heat! It has been a great opportunity to network with so many passionate and motivated young people, with fresh ideas and initiatives.
So, what is the Vienna Youth Force? VYF aims to build youth leadership for a sustainable response to HIV and AIDS. The Pre-Conference provided a global platform for international, regional and local youth organisations concerned with promoting sexual reproduction and health rights and HIV and AIDS. These groups prepared activities and advocacy campaigns for us (the youth participants) to attend with the ultimate goal of empowering us to advocate for the Millennium Development Goals and Universal Access to HIV medicines.
Each day has been jam packed with 5 sessions running at any one time – this proved difficult when you’re as indecisive as me! I tried to focus on sessions covering the following:
- Sexuality Education for HIV Prevention
- Models for Youth Leadership
- Understanding the Advocacy process
- Peer Education Programmes
We’ve also been interviewing numerous people on their experience of sex education in their country and access to youth friendly and appropriate services to gain a global vision of the current issues and find out more about what young people think and consider important.
The Pre-Conference ended on a high at our closing ceremony Dance the Ribbon. Listening to Michel Sidibe (Executive Director of UNAIDS) speak here was definitely a high point, supporting the youth movement and believing in our capacity to advocate for change. The event ended with an appropriate chant of our slogan “Now Make It Happen”.
Now for the XVIII International AIDS Conference, time to release the activist in me!
Now, Make It Happen.
Will write again soon