The Annual Health Youth Camp 2019 in Meru County was lit! Lots of fun, interactions, learning and experience!

Ahead of World AIDS Day 2019, under the theme “Communities make the difference”, Straight Talk, through Teen Plus Initiative partnered with Kenya Red Cross Meru Branch to organize a 1 week Youth Health Camp with an aim of addressing the unmet needs of the rural young people in the field of Career advice, Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights and Mental Health by providing information and referrals to youth friendly services.

The camp themed “Transforming youths through health awareness“ brought together over 80 youths from all over Meru county and other parts of the country to learn and share ideas that could better their societies as well as the youths at their individual level. The camp was held at Mitoone Secondary School – a school that is on the edge of Nkunga Forest in Meru County.  On the last day of the camp, participants were able to reach over 2,000 people during the World Aids Day 2019 community outreach activities held at Kiirua Market in the nearby town. 

Straight Talk Foundation’s lifeskills trainers Evelyne Odhiambo and Martha Kombe were at their element, taking the youthful participants through sessions on sexuality, menstrual hygiene management and relationships.

“The camp was exceptional! I was able to learn more about menstrual hygiene management. As an adolescent girl, I now understand that menstruation is not dirt, but a natural, healthy process of womanhood that girls should celebrate and go through with no shame” Remarked Brenda Kanyora, 19.

Recognising the need for physical well being for adolescents, the participants were involved in a training on non-communicable diseases and physical exercises. The day started at 6.00am with rigorous morning exercises combined with outdoor activities such as swimming at the nearby private resort and hiking at the Kiunga Forest near the campsite. There were salsa dancing nights and cultural nights as well.

The Youth Coordinator, Kenya Red Cross Meru Branch Mr Derrick Igweta, who was also among the camp organisers thanked the Straight Talk team for the great partnership and the camp’s participants for their very lively engagement.

“Through this camp, we got to engage adolescents and young people through focus group discussions, peer to peer learning sessions, games and sports, edutainment and also had inspirational speakers talk to them,” said Kenny Kaburu, the Team Leader at Straight Talk Foundation.

The speakers included popular actors of Real House Helps of Kawangware Show Mwobobia and Nkirote. Wicky Muthomi, the one third of the Ameru crew rap group sensation and a celebrated playwright was at the camp too to inspire budding actors, dancers and musicians.

“The Camp did not only amplify the voices and information around HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention but also gave health packages like HIV testing and counseling, and training on career, mentorship, psychosocial First Aid, sexual and reproductive health, mental health and menstrual hygiene management” Kaburu added. 

Kenya Red Cross, Meru Branch, Chairman Mr Nicholas Mutwiri was at hand to officially close the camp and award certificates to the participants around the bonfire, songs and dance. 

“We look forward to partnering with Straight Talk Foundation Kenya again soon, to ensure more young people benefit from these very resourceful training sessions and information about their health,” said Mr Mutwiri.

We went, we saw, we conquered! Look out for our next exciting Annual Youth Health Camp coming to a place near you soon!