It comes to me with great pleasure to thank MYSA and the entire Kicking AIDS Out Network for giving me this opportunity to conduct my first ever Leader Level 1 training.
It was such a great experience for me because I did not know that I could be such a good role model and an inspiration to many young people. I owe my achievement to the Leader Level 2 training that I attended this year (2013) in Moshi, Tanzania during the East African cup, my co-facilitator Beatrice Wambui and the great support offered to us during the training by Alex Ngaa (Potential Master Trainer). After being trained as peer leader in the year 2010 I never imagined that this opportunity would present itself so soon. Nevertheless, its through hard work, determination, passion and staying focus that saw me overcome the many hurdles of life to this point-‘the sky is not the limit but the starting point’ (quote from one participant).
The guidelines and the manuals from Kicking AIDS Out made it easy for me to facilitate during the five days of the workshop. My co-facilitator and I used different methodologies to engage the participants more and make the sessions more interactive and enjoyable; it was evident that people learn more not by listening rather by doing it themselves. Story telling, experience sharing, role plays, debates, group discussions were among the many methodologies used throughout the training to mention but a few.
What Kicking AIDS Out Network and the member organizations are doing is not in vain since the youth are faced with many challenges in life such as drugs abuse, HIV and AIDS, peer pressure, lack of information and many other therefore, its only through enhancing their life skills and advocating for positive behavior change among the youth that will make this beautiful continent and the world at large a better place to live in. “Being a kicking AIDS out peer leader has helped me refrain from engaging in risk taking activities, I was once in a gang of robbers in my home area when I was still in high school, I witnessed many young people from the gang die in cold blood courtesy of mob justice and the fierce gun shot by the police. It was until I got an opportunity to be trained as a peer leader in my school that saw me transform to a better person that I am today, many thank to MYSA and Kicking AIDS Out for saving my life”, story from one participant. This story made understand that our mission is not only about HIV and other related topics but it’s a life saving course. Just like the great John C. Maxwell said “a man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit for them, and strong enough to correct them”.
They called us parents yet non of us has any offspring, this came from participants who cited that we (facilitators) are like their second parents for the good guidance and mentorship offered to them throughout the training, they gave hilarious remarks through poems, narrative and coral verses all in the name of thanking the facilitators for the outstanding job. This was a life time experience for me that will forever be in my mind till demise especially after witnessing participants share their inner most experiences and secrets in life leading almost everyone to tears, some were so emotional that some participants had to leave the room since they could not bear any more. This made me understand that people do go through a lot in life and whenever someone is in a difficult situation there are others facing even tougher ones and that there is always enough for all of us if we live in love, peace and unity.
I salute you all who to took part in the realization of this training to happen, many thanks to all the like minded people within the Kicking AIDS Out Network for your continued support.
We are because you are. Long live Kicking AIDS Out family.