Youth Friendly Resource Centres Give Hope to the Youth

    Since November 2009, Beacon of Hope Centre has established and maintained eight youth friendly resource centres in eight different communities within two Districts, Kajiado and Machakos/Kathiani. On average the eight youth resource centres attract 800 youth visits every month. This process was facilitated by support from the Global Fund round 7 project through CARE Kenya. The idea behind the creation of a youth resource centre in a community was to provide a safe haven for community youths; a place where they can grow and develop skills including information and knowledge on sexual reproductive health issues, especially HIV/AIDS.

    During sessions, one key activity is through a forum dubbed Coffee time, the participants interact and share opinions on matters as they enjoy a cup of coffee. This promotes critical thinking, problem solving skills, to share experiences and increase the youth's knowledge on the discussion topic. With 30 young people assembled in a session, they influence positive behavior change and empower each other youth with information and knowledge.

    Youth enjoying a cup of coffee during a discussion

    The sessions are designed to encourage active participation and allow the participants to drive the discussion. The centre provides Information, Education Communication (IEC) materials, library facilities indoor and outdoor games and computer services, including free internet access for all the youth. The books and other material cover an array of topics, HIV/AIDS being one of them. 'We are blessed to have a television set that is used to show edutainment clips, which motivate, inform, educate and entertain the young people'. The Youth Recreation Centre at BOH has a performing arts group made up of young people from the community. The group writes, directs and acts in thematic plays.

    Recently, the group traveled to Nakuru county to participate in Arts festivals organized by 'G PANGE' , an initiative for youths that regards HIV/AIDS and advocates for personal responsibility in dealing with the pandemic. This particular festival had the objective of fostering talent exploration and utilization among the youth. Art after all is a very powerful means of communication. The drama group secured the second position in the entire Rift Valley Province and won awards in various categories. The centre plans to initiate a youth's economic empowerment group to help youths create employment for themselves and others through business ventures by their savings and access to microfinance support.

                                                                                               A group on stage at the Rift Valley G-PANGE Arts/Talent festival




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