Health activists believe that promoting talents can save lives thereby Youth can stay busy in Music and poems by also spreading the message to the wider community.

On January 14, 2020, Younger Women Mentors Network (YWMNE), a local organization that promotes the rights and advocates for young women in Rwanda in partnership with the Ministry of Gender and Family promotion under the support of UNAIDS have organized talent competitions where three best singers and three best poets won prizes after disseminating messages that call youth to avoid drug abuse, unwanted pregnancies and HIV/AIDS.

Mutoni Saranda Oliva, 19, is a poet since Senior Five. She is now in second year of University. Learning from her mother, she found poetry as the best tool to disseminate messages that contribute to the community development.
Mutoni is one of the contestants who won the best award. She calls other youth to join poetry and start sharing messages to help the community move forward.
“My message to the youth is that they can take the lead in protecting their lives, avoid drug abuse. They have a role to play,” she said.

Rose Mutesi, Chief Executive Director of Younger Women Mentors Network (YWMNET) said that the competition is in line with an ongoing campaign to fight against unwanted pregnancies among teenagers and drug abuse.
She said that the network was incepted by young girls who finished University in 2012 following the vulnerabilities young ladies used to face.

Through different talents of youth who participated in the competition of talent show by YWMNET, various messages to fight against HIV/AIDS, drug abuse and unwanted pregnancies were spread.
Mutesi said that advocacy and sensitization to fight the above vices are being conducted. She said that volunteers were trained to keep youth busy in various talents.

The competition is an annual initiative and hosts especially students during the holidays.
“We first of all test them to help them know their HIV status, and we help them spread the messages through debates, songs and poems. After this programme we will have discussions with school institutions to find further strategies to sustain the achievements,” Mutesi said.

She advises young girls to be satisfied with what they have and to choose the best friends who do not lure them into temptations.
She also calls the community especially parents to be close with their girl children after they have experienced hurdles of being impregnated instead of excluding them from homes.

Jean Nizeyimana, an official in charge of GBV Department in the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion (MIGEPROF) said that the Ministry is doing advocacy to ensure children are having proper education and are raised in families.
“We focus on children advocacy as they are the most vulnerable,” he said.

The Express News

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