With PEPFAR Support, Young People “Wize-Up” to “Sugar Daddies”
Young people at the University of Namibia commemorated the conclusion of a PEPFAR-funded US$24,097 small grant with a public performance by Desert Soul, a community-based edutainment group. The standing-room only crowd of more than 200 viewers witnessed the use of theater, film, printed material, social media, and dialogue to build awareness about the continuing risks of HIV/AIDS. The project, which promoted responsible, well-informed behavior, incorporated activities at three high schools and three universities, and reached a total of 15,000 young people, ages 16 to 24. Activities culminated in the “Wize-Up” musical festival that incorporated various art forms and themes. The show aimed to make learners aware of the dangers of multiple partners and age discordant sexual partners, or “sugar daddies.” To uproarious applause, performers creatively demonstrated the spread of the disease with a flowing red ribbon woven through a stage of performers. Notably, the visual display included an innocuous scene that incorporated a male same-sex couple; despite widespread discomfort over LGBT issues in Namibia, the scene raised no objection from the crowd.