By Ketricia Finch
St. Kitts Reporter
The ICC has teamed with UNAIDS and the United Nations Cricket Funds (UNICEF) on HIV/AIDS at the CWC to further sensitize persons to the importance of protecting themselves against HIV and to consider the impact of HIV on children.
Visits by cricketers from Scotland, the Netherlands and Australia to relevant personnel have been arranged and the first took place last week Friday at the St. Johnson’s Community Center.
The Washington Archibald Young Leaders, a group from the Washington Archibald High School that focuses on HIV/AIDS in the local community, met with Scottish cricketers to introduce the players to their Young Leaders Project.
One UNICEF officials said the group has done tremendous work over the last year and a half to educate people in society about HIV and AIDS.
“We are happy that some of the members who are participating in the World Cup would like to go out and meet with young people in the St. Kitts community to get an idea of the kinds of things that they are doing,” he said.
Heather Stuart, who works with the UNICEF office for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean and is responsible for the activities in St. Kitts, recapped the objectives of the cricket project.
She said the three players, Ryan Watson, Euan McIntyre and Frazer Watz, are working with the UNICEF on their campaign they call United Children, United AIDS.
“The campaign promotes 40 areas, one is the Prevention of Transition of HIV/AIDS. Others are the Increase Anti-Retro-Viral Theory for children and young people who are in treatment, education programs to prevent HIV transmission and increase support for children who are less vulnerable by HIV and AIDS,” Stuart said.
The Scottish players introduced themselves and then some of the group members explained what they are all about.
One of the members said young leaders is a community-focused program and their projects attract a high level of community involvement and partnership.
“It is combined with full implementation of sustainable ideas that would have meaningful and wide range impact across our communities,” she said.
She said as a young leader, they are expected to be resourceful in their methods, comprehensive with their research, creative with their presentations and precise in their documentation.
“The purpose of young leaders is to help youth develop leadership skills and appreciate the value of team work and the pursue of common goals,” she said.
She said their main topic is centralized around HIV/AIDS and the groups theme is Don’t Discriminate, Try to Relate -Wise Up and Rise Up.
She also said some of the group’s projects are an HIV/AIDS awareness day fair and football tournament, 1 on 1 on the Block and an HIV comic.
She said 1 on 1 on the Block was done previously to survey individuals in the community. She said some of the questions that were asked are: Would you speak to a friend or family member who you know is living with HIV or take care of them? and Would you still purchase food from a vendor who you know is living with HIV/AIDS?
She said the questions opened the minds of persons because some of them did not know the answers.
After the meeting, the three players were allowed the opportunity to question the group more on their efforts to educate the wider community on HIV/AIDS.