AJUBS members working in their field
It has been an exciting few months for AJUBS in Yagoua, one of the newest associations in EFA’s Youth Empowerment Network.
EFA has been working hard to reinforce the capacity of the association members, training them to conduct community sensitization activities about HIV/AIDS, manage their affairs, maintain a monitoring and evaluation system, and engage in advocacy work.
In recent months, the association members have completed an advocacy campaign by writing to all of the community leaders and NGOs working in Yagoua. The campaign yielded two important outcomes. First, both the Bishop and a representative of the local mosque responded by publicly encouraging the association members and promising their moral support. Second, the Mayor has given 100,000 CFA to the project and has also promised to allow the association to continue their work without paying any tax. This public support from local leaders sends an important message that vulnerable young people within the community are protected and signals the beginning of an end to discrimination and stigmatization against young people within HIV/AIDS in Yagoua.
AJUBS has also started a new income-generation activity - a field of beans. They hope the field will yield a substantial harvest even in its first year of operation. The field was donated by a family member of one of the members. The personal contributions of the members, plus the support of the Mayor, were used for start-up costs, such as purchasing seeds and spraying the fields against insects. The youth members now meet weekly in the field. In addition to working together towards a successful harvest, these weekly meetings serve as opportunities for the association members to discuss their situation and plan for their future work together. The members are hopeful that the income from the sale of the beans will help them to support their ongoing medical and nutrition costs.
Collectively, these projects have helped to bring the youth in the association together and to strengthen their hope in the future. One association member eloquently expressed this hope when she said: “For the last few weeks, all of us have been very busy working for ourselves in our field. This work has allowed us to see that we are supported. I would like to thank EFA for having opened our eyes.” (Dahaida Delphine, Treasurer of AJUBS).
Taking a break to pose for the camera