The most recent USAID report on HIV awareness in Tanzania shows improvement, with more than 1.8 million people in the 2016 fiscal year receiving HIV testing and counseling. The local nonprofit Pretty Development for Poverty Reduction (PDPR) is focusing on HIV awareness outside of U.S. intervention, though, and one of the ways they are doing so is having secondary education students in Tanzania compete in an essay contest about the risks of the disease and how to prevent it.
Though they operate across Tanzania, PDPR is based out of the Njombe district, where HIV is more prevalent than anywhere else in the country. For reference, in Zanzibar, prevalence is .2 percent, while in Njombe, it is 15.4 percent.
More than one million people were living with HIV/AIDS in Tanzania in 2015. This number is high, but new infections have declined 20 percent in the past five years, and there are half as many annual fatalities now than in 2010. This indicates that awareness and prevention programs are benefiting the country.
In addition to writing about HIV/AIDS, the students are encouraged to explore the topics of globalization and climate change. PDPR hopes this range of issues will help young citizens gain determination to develop a better world.
PDPR focuses their efforts in rural areas where they can reach the women, children, small-scale farmers and businessmen, the most marginalized and impoverished groups in Tanzania.
They work under the Njombe District Non-governmental Organization (NJODINGO), and as they continue to allocate funds hope to organize vocational training programs, farmers organizations, civic education and a radio station.
The essay contest, spreading HIV awareness in Tanzania, is one of many ways that PDPR hopes to instill a sense of civic responsibility in the youth of the Njombe district and the whole country. Through implementing new ways to achieve awareness, only positive change can result.
– Brooke Clayton