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Pan-African NGO Graduates Peer Educators 

By Imma Mkong & Elizabeth Enanga Mokake* — A Pan-African NGO, Society for Women and AIDS in Africa, SWAA-Cameroon, August 9, graduated some 45 peer educators trained on human sexuality.
The graduation ceremony of the 8th batch of trainees took place at SWAA-Cameroon headquarters in Yaounde.

Speaking during the ceremony, the National President of SWAA-Cameroon, Prof. Dora Mbanya, congratulated the graduating students for their brilliant exposés during the event, since, according to her, it was proof that they merit the attestations that were handed to them. She then promised permanent support to the laureates after the graduation. The National President also applauded the efforts of their facilitators and supervisors for the impact they have created in the community.

Prof. Mbanya remarked that the training of the youths on human sexuality took gender approach into consideration and was also geared at preventing sexual violence in the community. She disclosed that the training programme, which started in 2005, equally aims at getting the adolescent to participate in the building of a society where people of both sexes live a positive sexual life based on enlightened choices, equality and the respect for one another.

The Centre Regional President of SWAA-Cameroon, Pastor Richard Ngassa Kessou, who coordinated the training, explained that the programme was aimed at making youths useful during the holidays, instead of idling around. “They acquired skills which they would, in turn, use in educating and sensitising their peers in their respective schools and neighborhoods,” he stated. He disclosed that no specific criteria are used to select the trainees.

“The training is open to all youths and there is no discrimination. Let me make it clear here that the training is free; we don’t charge the children anything, they did not contribute a dime for the organisation of this ceremony,” said Ngassa. He explained that SWAA-Cameroon does a follow-up of the trainees after their training to ensure that they put into practice the knowledge acquired. 

“We involve them in all our activities; we also involve them in all national activities like the Youth and Women’s Day celebrations. We have also created health clubs in schools where these youths take active part in the fight against HIV/AIDS campaigns,” he said while calling on all youths to take part in subsequent training programmes.

One of the laureates, Manuella Vianney Tankwa, said the training has helped her to understand the importance of self esteem and affirmation. “Before now, I didn’t have the courage to speak in public but thanks to this training, fear has become a thing of the past. As a woman I know I have so many values and responsibilities that I am prepared to share with the public,” said Tankwa.

Another participant, Appolinaire Mang, said that he was inspired by his friend’s life style.  Since he wanted so much to be like his friend, he decided to take part in the training. He added that the training has made him to know that sexuality is not just about sex but includes dressing and walking style.

“This training has changed me completely,” Mang confessed. The Society for Women and AIDS in Africa is based in Dakar-Senegal and today exists in 42 African countries. In Cameroon, the NGO has branches in six of the 10 regions, notably; in the South, East, Centre, Littoral, Southwest and Northwest.

*ASMAC Students On Internship

First published in The Post print edition No. 1366

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