Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Nigeria on Tuesday inaugurated a forum known as the Girls Act in Benue to empower girls and young women with a vision to stay healthy and thrive in both health and their chosen careers.
According to AHF’s Advocacy Manager, Steve Aborisade, the forum is one of the Foundaton’s way of supporting girls and young women to
prevent HIV and STI infections & reduce unplanned pregnancies, stay
on treatment and stay in school.
He explained that the initiative is to foster leadership and confidence for girls and young women between the ages of 15 to 24 to support each other, strengthen fundamental life skills, and develop community activism.
“Many of the young people have been invited by AHF to interact and learn skills as well as grant aid to some of them to further their education. We went round all AHF centers in Benue and picked out young people. So far, we are starting off with 35 of them in Benue who were picked from all our centers across the state.
“We are trying to put leadership in the hands of young people. Today is the formal inauguration for Benue chapter. So far, we only have Benue and Abuja chapters but chapters will soon open in other states of the federation.
Aborisade explained further that the Girls Act is to develop the leadership capacity of the young girls to take leadership by themselves.
On her part, Prevention Coordinator, AHF, Benue, Amina Iyaji-Abije, states that the vision for the Girls Act is to see that young women and girls are empowered with adequate knowledge, education and skills that will make them live meaningful lives and as well ensure that they are prevented from being infected with HIV as well as other diseases.
“The girls acts is for girls to have a platform where they can have access to free reproductive health services, menstrual hygiene, phycosocial support as well as some educational support for dropouts and out of school people.
Also speaking, the newly elected coordinator of the forum in Benue, Jennifer Wankar promised that her executive would work assiduously to coordinate the affairs of the Girls Act in Benue to the best of their ability.
“Even though I have little knowledge about how to run this group, I am ready to learn and together with my officials, we will impact positively on the lives of young girls and the society at large,” she said.
Highpoint of the event was the donation of COVID-19 palliatives including rice, beans, spaghetti, vegetable oil, sanitary pads and detergent to all the young people in attendance courtesy of AHF.