White Orange Youth
White Orange Youth aims to reduce the spread of HIV/Aids and increase the quality of life of young people and other at-risk groups in Kilimanjaro region by educating them through their peers.
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A message from John Kessy, Founder
“I am passionate about changing the lives of young people, and I think this can be traced back to when I was a child. I was the first born in my family and found that I naturally felt a responsibility to lead my younger brothers and sister. While at school, I was chosen as a class monitor and later a school prefect, a role in which I began to realize my leadership gifts. After secondary school I joined the National Youth Forum, during which we discussed a lot about how young people can be agents of change and inspiration in Tanzania, and since then I have been motivated to lead young people to change their communities. This led me to begin White Orange Youth. Our peer education program works with youth between the ages of 11 and 35 and aims to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS and increase quality of life. I work with young people, commercial sex workers and drug users, and use peer education to spread the use of positive practices and dispel common myths around disease. My vision is to see our community dedicated and working hard to improving their own quality of life – improving their own health, education and ultimately eradicating poverty themselves.”
All of the work the youth at WOY do is based on volunteer peer to peer education. This is based on the fact that many young people get their information about sexual health, life-goals and relationship advice from their peers. If those peers are giving out good advice, then young people will avoid following poor guidance and the difficult situations that may follow.
Peer Education Program
Peer educators go through an intensive 5-7 day training during which they are taught to educate their peers about HIV/AIDS prevention, life skills, overcoming peer pressure, reproductive health, relationship skills, STDs, puberty, and drug abuse. After completing the training, the youth go into the schools to lead workshops with students. WOY has reached thousands of young people through their youth activities.
To sensitise the community about HIV/AIDS prevention and to reduce stigma, WOY also runs community outreach events in villages on market days. These events feature participatory drama, dance, discussion, art and comedy – all with an educational goal. WOY partners with other health organisations to carry out mobile HIV testing on these days as well. Through innovative outreach campaigns, more than 10,000 people have been educated or received HIV/AIDS testing and thousands of condoms have been successfully distributed to these targeted high-risk populations.
Stop Gender-Based Violence Program
WOY has also been running a Gender Based Violence (GBV) Program for Women, Children, and Young People, which is sponsored by a grant from the French Embassy. Both men and women from communities surrounding Moshi are participating in the program and learning about women’s rights and how to recognize and prevent gender-based violence.
Free to Dream Girls Program
This program aims to increase the level of inclusion of people at risk, especially girls, and advocates for equal opportunity participation in the development process. Free to Dream is reviving girls’ dreams by creating tailor made entrepreneurship skills, life skills and skills sexual reproductive health and rights education while fighting against gender based violence in their community. Each year the program recruits 25 girls from vulnerable background. These girls are striving to increase their financial wellbeing through three income generating projects: tailoring, soap making and spices.
Through Mama Hope Support, WOY managed to introduce a permaculture farm as a sustainability project. The project is in a rural setting and it aims to generate more internal income that can cover WOY’s running costs and reduce donor dependence. This project follows permaculture ethics; Care of the Earth, Care of the People and Sharing of Surplus. The farm motivates young people to learn about regenerative gardening techniques. It also provides a physical place for young people to learn other soft skills like life skills, sexual reproductive health and rights and civic education. The following permaculture elements are already established at the farm include compost toilets, fish ponds, beekeeping, vegetable garden, rabbit raising and poultry.
Community Information Center
John’s next goal for WOY is to build a community information center – including a computer lab – for the youth in his program so they can improve their computer literacy skills and become more competitive in the job market.
Additional long term goals include raising hybrid chickens, beekeeping and horticulture, a caregivers program, and a dried food procession center.
We are building to our 3-year goals through a combination of income-generating projects. Here's what we're developing right now.
WOY has purchased a 3-acres land to build a farm. They have dug a well, and are planning several projects are to be developed, the first of which is the Pig Farm. Their first pig pen has been constructed in the nearby Uru Mrawi village. White Orange Youth plans to expand this project in the near future by building a larger pig pen on the new land, as well as adding poultry and a fish pond to further increase their income and to reach broader market.