Major Infectious Diseases
Indigenous African societies had elaborate rites of passage for childhood to adulthood transition for social and character formation and identity. Today, identity and belonging are visibly riddled with various tensions associated with modernization. For adolescents who are facing identity and sexual crises, this cultural void creates confusion, lack of confidence and self-esteem as well as feelings of alienation. The results of this are youth vulnerability to high-risk behaviour manifested in high rates of HIV infection, pregnancies, alcoholism and drug abuse. In Kenya alone, the adolescent pregnancy rate is 18%, where the highest number of new HIV infections is among adolescents.
Eunice Kamaara is a Professor at Moi University in Kenya with a doctorate in African Christian Ethics and MSc. in International Health Research Ethics. In 2004, she founded the African Character Initiation Programme (ACIP) with 4 university colleagues. The ACIP accompanies and empowers adolescents with information through their identity and sexual crises, to build their confidence and self-esteem and provides them with life skills and character values for successful transition to responsible adulthood. The community-based and participatory programme provides a one-stop source of information on adolescent realities in a context of modernization and information explosion. For sustainability, the programme is community-sponsored and owned with an inbuilt training of young programme alumni as future trainers. Over the last 13 years, the programme has directly impacted over 2000 boys and girls through workshops and camps and directly mentored over 1500 individual boys and girls. The ACIP has been tested in a multitude of areas within Kenya, as well as Malawi and Nepal.