December 9, 2013 | 12:00 AM
A volunteer displaying awareness cards at Muttrah Corniche in Muttrah, Muscat. Photo provided.
Muscat: December 1 celebrated two main events. First, World AIDS Day; a day to stop, reflect and analyze how much one has done to reduce the encounters of HIV/AIDS and realize the impact of the number of campaigns led by youth groups, charity organizations, sister UN agencies, ministries etc.
It also marked the launch of 10 Days of Activism (10DOA); an activity that spanned for ten days where the volunteers of Y-PEER (Youth Peer Education network) implemented activities based on topics such as HIV/AIDS, women and youth empowerment. This international event is also being implemented in 40 other countries worldwide. Launched in 2010, the event has been very successful and now in its fourth year of implementation. The Y-PEERs of the Oman network planned, designed and are successfully executing activities in the Muscat and Al Buraimi region.
One of the key areas of focus for the Y-PEERs of the Oman network is to educate the young people on reproductive health through 'edutainment' (Education + Entertainment). The themed campaign is based on the focus points every year. The inaugurating year was 2010 which was themed as "Our Year, Our Voice". For 2013, the Y-PEERs have themed the year as "A World We All Want" focusing on the world that the youth of today dream of.
On that note, the youth volunteers of Y-PEER Oman network kicked off their activities yesterday at the Zainab Bint Khuzzaimah Secondary School in Al Buraimi. The volunteers discussed about sensitive subjects such as reducing discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS, modes of HIV/AIDS transmission and prevention with grade students. The volunteers made sure that they broke all the misconception that the young students had about the epidemic.
The Y-PEERs are known for their creativity and thus, applying their innovativeness, the volunteers organized role plays that explained, both positive and negative aspects that the people with HIV face in their day to day lives. This activity was much enjoyed by the students as they got a chance to play as well as learn something new.
The following days, the volunteers continued their activities in both Muscat and Al Buraimi region. In Al Buraimi region, the youth volunteers conducted activities in Mahdhah Basic Education School where the excited students were ready to experience and learn new topics. One of the activity that the volunteers organized was 'fill in the blank' where the young students were asked to fill in the blank of a template with one word which would express the world they want.
Similarly, in Muscat region, the volunteers engrossed themselves into spreading the word about the mandated issues of Y-PEER and UNFPA in a fun way. They walked around the streets of Muttrah Souq during the peak hours which caught the attention of not only locals but also tourists who were very delighted to witness the youth of Oman taking part in socially responsible activities. This clearly proved that the future of Oman is indeed in the hands of bright, smart and civic engaged youth.
Continuing their successful activities, the volunteers spoke to general public about Y-PEERs, their closely knit, friendly network and their projects. The volunteers not only informed about Y-PEER network to the locals but even to international tourists who were equally interested to know about them. The volunteers also gave away a few Y-PEER goodies, which included information brochures, USBs, water bottles and other items.
As the name suggests, the campaign was implemented for 10 days in both Muscat and Al Buraimi region stressing on the theme "A World We All Want."