Protect Yourself, Act Yourself
Start date: Jan 1, 2015,
End date: Dec 31, 2015
"Protect Yourself, Act Yourself" was the first youth exchange, realised by NGO Connexions asbl and it was aimed for young people coming from 5 European countries: Luxembourg, Poland, France, Bulgaria and Czech Republic. It took place from 22-31 May 2015 and involved 40 young people. The topic of this youth exchange was promotion of healthy sexual behaviors among young people.
Since sexually transmitted infections (STIs) constitute a pandemic and affect all populations it is the youth, who are the main victims. For instance 50% of new HIV infections in the world occur among young people between 15 and 25 years (UnAids report 2013). Through this youth exchange, we aimed to point out that the consequences of such infections are dramatic for the future: heavy and mandatory drug treatment for life, emotional shock to be assimilated by the youth, their family and entourage, forced sexual behaviour, change of future prospects, social dogmas, etc.
This topic is of a high importance, however, unfortunately often neglected by the organizations in Europe and young people initiatives. The topic of health and healthy sexual behaviour helped us to work with young people and helped them to develop such competences, as adaptability, sensitivity, project management, facilitation, empathy, critical self-awareness, entrepreneurship competences and much more.
This project, according to us, was a very innovative initiative and we encouraged young people to speak up about prevention of STIs and taught them about safe sex behaviours. We endorsed them to build their own tools and means of communication to contact their peers in an innovative approach. The exchange supported responsible, civic and voluntarily behaviours.
Peer education on health issues is what we were implementing in this project. Young people were given chance to get concrete tools and knowledge how to tackle the issue and become the ambassadors of healthy behaviours to their peers.
In this project, young people organized themselves their prevention actions. We believe that their prevention message is more persuasive than that made by adults. The intercultural approach of safe sex by youth is something new and will bring the opportunity to better understand how they communicate about safe sex and how it is possible to improve it.
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