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Turn to your neighbor and say, “Neighbor! #GYMO2016 activations were incredible!”
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Turn to your neighbor and say, “Neighbor! #GYMO2016 activations were incredible!”

There is this term high school students call “kiro-more”. It literally means the day before they break off for holidays. The day is usually a day of endless entertainment signifying an end to the school term’s ‘stresses’.

Well, we decided to aid this stress relief from students of Bishop Cipriano Kihangire SS both day and boarding as well as Kinaawa High School– Kasangati on August 23rd and 25th respectively on the eve of getting their holidays through edutainment. We called this #GYMO2016.

For starters, “Get Your Mix Out” (GYMO) campaign is an edutainment Behavioral Change Campaign which has been running since 2012 targeting young people between the age of 15-24. Through this campaign, we use cultural icons and peer educators to talk about positive life choices to inspire young people as well as health service providers to provide free health services for example free HIV testing and counseling to students. By the end of 2015, the campaign had reached over 700 young people and 70 schools while working with over 20 cultural icons.

Are you wondering how our activations went? Here are the brief highlights.

As always, we got a wonderful reception at Bishop Cipriano Kihangire SS- Luzira both day and boarding sections. We kicked off the morning with focused group discussions with help from our friends at DSW Uganda, Victoria University and Public Health Ambassadors Uganda (PHAU) alongside our peer educators.

Some of the topics handled included body changes, life skills, relationship, HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention as well as menstrual hygiene (PHAU is running a campaign called Ensonga aimed at promoting menstrual hygiene through use of affordable reusable pads. They were a timely addition to the outreach) among others.

The last part of the day, was filled with performances and talks from inspirational speakers and RAHU cultural icons. Pastor Wilson Bugembe who was the day’s inspirational speaker, left the students moved by his #LifeInMyShoes story from being a suicide attempt victim to a man of God giving hope and shelter to over 500 vulnerable children. The greatest take away from his talk were his words “Never forget your life story. Never forget where you are coming from, it will help you know where you are going.”

We turned our attention to Wakiso district on August 25th and gave a courtesy #GYMO2016 call to Kinaawa High School- Kasangati for the first time ever. The reception we got, can only be compared to the one Stephen Kiprotich got after winning the London 2012 Olympics men’s marathon gold medal. Lol!

The focused group discussions on the same topics we had at Bishop Cipriano SS Kihangire, were facilitated by our friends at Uganda Network of Young People Living with HIV/AIDS (UNYPA), Victoria University as well as our committed peer educators.

In the afternoon, Robinah Babirye who happens to be the Miss young positive 2015/16, gave an inspirational talk to the students. She encouraged the students to always work hard to get what they desire and wish for in life. Since they were breaking off for holidays, she encouraged them to avoid tempting situations such as engaging in early sex reminding them that HIV/AIDS and teenage pregnancies are real.

Let’s talk about the cultural icons! #GYMO2016 wouldn’t have been a success if our ambassadors hadn’t “reached a hand” to the students. From Fik Fameika, to Geosteady, Coopy Bly, Ronnie McVexx, Ken van Muk, Emma Napoleon, Ray Signature and Navio, these guys besides doing good music, they are promoting positive choices among students.In between their performances at both schools, they made sure to emphasis why staying in school is important.

From us to you reading this, we say thanks – for following the #GYMO2016 conversation last week and keeping an eye on what we do. Until next time…young people for young people!

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