Safeguard Youths from promiscuity: Machakaire The call was made by Minister of Youth Empowerment, Development, and Vocational Training Tino Machakaire during a workshop on HIV and AIDS hosted yesterday by the Department of Community and Social Development at the University of Zimbabwe. 

Trust FreddyHerald Correspondent 

Youths have been challenged to prioritise decent living and not engage in risky behaviour that will raise HIV infection rates.

The call was made by Minister of Youth Empowerment, Development, and Vocational Training Tino Machakaire during a workshop on HIV and AIDS hosted yesterday by the Department of Community and Social Development at the University of Zimbabwe. 

Running under the theme: “Ama2k- Towards an HIV and AIDS free Generation”, the event brought together diverse partners in the field of health including the Government, practitioners, support groups, private sector, voluntary organisations, lecturers, and university and high school students.

In a speech read on his behalf by chief director of youth, empowerment and vocational training Mr Elias Murinda, Minister Machakaire said there was still a need to safeguard the future generation from promiscuous lifestyles.

“We agree with the organisers of this workshop that indeed there is still that need to conscientise our youth constituency on the importance of taking good care of themselves and living healthy.

 “Our young generation still need to know that HIV and AIDS, though seemingly driven into obscurity by other emergent pandemics and menaces, still exist, and this calls for more discriminate and responsible behaviour,” he said.

Young people needed to make a difference for themselves, their families and ultimately their nation. “This is the treasure that we strive to continue safeguarding against all adversities, and in this regard, all guiding frameworks on youth development starting with the Constitution of Zimbabwe Section 20, down to the National Youth Policy prioritises the protection of youth, their health and well-being, and calls for strengthening of youth friendly health services.

“Above all however, we promote the values of unhu or ubuntu, self and mutual respect, firmly believing that through adherence to these we can achieve an HIV and AIDS free generation. 

“Open dialogue sessions on HIV and AIDS such as this workshop is achieving can greatly help our youths get reminded on the importance of abstinence.”

University of Zimbabwe Vice Chancellor Professor Paul Mapfumo said the programme dovetails well with the education 5.0, which emphasises research, community service, innovation, and industrialisation.

“This gathering represents a significant milestone in our relentless pursuit of progress, hope, and transformation in line with our strategic thrust and the Government’s heritage-based Education 5.0 philosophy,” he said in a speech read on his behalf by the acting Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof Florence Mtambanengwe.

“Today, we convene not merely as individuals or institutions, but as a united front, driven by the collective determination to foster change, and pave the way for a future where the spectre of HIV and AIDS no longer casts its long shadow over the lives of countless individuals and communities.”

Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Ms Blessing Chikukutu, a lecturer in the department of community and social development, said parents must play a key in preventing the spread of HIV and AIDs.

“It starts in the home where parents are supposed to openly talk about sexual education with their children.

“Once we start from there it then becomes easier for the teacher to talk about it because will be working in collaboration with the parents, schools and other institutions,” she said.

Mr Emmanuel Mapepa, a University of Zimbabwe student said efforts to raise awareness on HIV ought to be emulated at all of the nation’s universities. 

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