Who is Humphrey Nabimanya?
For starters, he is blogging for RNW's Africa Desk during the XIX International AIDS Conference, taking place from 22 to 27 July 2012 in Washington, D.C.
Humphrey is also host of Youth Voice, the most viewed TV show for young people in Uganda (NBS TV). His is the only programme in the country which openly addresses issues like sexuality and relationships.
Growing up with HIV-positive guardians, Humphrey struggled with being discriminated against at school. But he came to turn this around by deciding to educate his classmates about HIV/AIDS. And today he is the proud founder of Reach A Hand Uganda, an organization bringing together those who want to contribute to Ugandan society by providing knowledge and skills to young people.
Finally, the AIDS 2012 conference has come to an end. This time I won’t go into technical issues and data, as most African leaders and advocates do. I will face reality. I will tell everyone who is reading this what should be done.
By Humphrey Nabimanya, Washington, D.C.
Information about HIV and reproductive health issues is available all over the globe. It’s now accessible through different mediums. But what is lacking is a way to tell young people how to put this information into practice.
In fact, most of our leaders don't know what youth need. They waste time attacking gay groups (who are the minority anyway) as a way to gain fame because such attacks have a lot of media appeal. Above all, their time is spent on politics and strategies for their next term or office.
Rather than facing reality, religious institutions spend most of their time talking about money and marriages. They promote abstinence-only programmes to young people who are already sexually active – and who happen to form the majority of our population.
NGOs spend most of their money and time on workshops and day-to-day planning, so they can get their per diems. Later, they abandon young people and their ideas, all the time saying “We will look into it.”
As this conference has shown me, it’s now up to us.
We should encourage young people to enjoy their lives by making good decisions. We should encourage them to be successful. That way, young HIV-positive people can also have hope – and they can offer hope. Their testimonies should be empowering, full of joy, not the sadness we see in most of the documentaries produced by organizations financed by Global Fund, the Gates Foundation and PREFER.
Let’s invest – a lot – in the character development of Uganda’s young nation. We should invest more time in planning and implementing programmes with youth so that we understand what they, along with comprehensive sexuality education, need exactly. That’s what will let young people get to know who they are. That’s what will help them make informed choices to build up their lives.