The African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnerships (ACHAP) has re-launched the Wise Up campaign in Gaborone and will do the same in Francistown on August 18. When giving the background on Wise Up Victor Tlhake said the campaign is meant to awaken Batswana to the growing problem of HIV/AIDS, with national prevalence rate standing at 18.5 percent in 2013. He regretted that children were now having sex at an early age, citing the findings from Botswana Youth Surveillance Survey (BYRBSS) which showed that 33% of sexually active students have had sex before 13 years. Strategies in the form of TV dramas like Mareledi and Ntwakgolo, Teen Clubs and Wise Up were rolled out to address this. “Wise Up was developed from input of young people and the underlying notion of Wise Up was that young people need to be smarter in the world of HIV with their sexuality,” he said. The first campaign was launched in September 2011. Tlhake said they partnered with other youth prevention initiatives like SHUGA and Young Love which were implemented by stakeholders. Head of New Projects at ACHAP Blessed Monyatsi said since inception as ACHAP they have positioned themselves as a cutting edge and innovative organisation. He said the Wise Up campaign falls under the adolescent and youth prevention module. “Other components of this module include HIV testing, counselling and safe male circumcision and ACHAP directly implements this component,” he said.
According to Monyatsi, the campaign is a youth-focused integrated media channel that includes traditional and social medial platforms such as Facebook, twitter, Instagram and radio as they target the youth from 10 to 29 years. He said there is a need to intensify efforts to reach the youth and adolescents to prevent further infections. “Wise Up provides a dialogue on strategies for HIV prevention among this critical group and this seeks to inspire behavioural change,’ he said. Through the Wise Up Campaign ACHAP aims to increase the proportion 10-14 year olds with comprehensive knowledge of HIV from 40% to 60%, increase the proportion 15-24 year olds with comprehensive knowledge of HIV from 42% to 60% and increase the proportion 15-29 years olds who consistently use a condom with a regular partner from 17% to 70%. The campaign is facilitated through peer education mentors who support peer educators to drive the engagement and conversations in all the 10 Global Fund grant focus districts. Through the programme, the youth will be registered in the Wise Up platform to receive scheduled age appropriate messages and will be graduated from one category to the next according to their ages and they will finally exit when they reach 29 years.