News Story

Latter-day Saint Trainers Help HIV/AIDS Prevention Program Educate Young Ghanaians

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Ghana are actively involved as trainers in the Stay Alive HIV/AIDs prevention program, helping Church and school leaders teach and empower 9-14-year-old children and young people to make informed choices about their health and future.

Stay Alive is a program of the Reach the Children non-governmental organization, which works with the Ghana Education Service to transform the lives of young Ghanaians. It seeks to train Church leaders and others, equipping them with the necessary tools to help children and teens stay alive, stay away from negative influences and remain HIV/AIDS free.

"Be obedient and go through the Stay Alive program,” says 10-year-old Belinda Donkor to her peers. At one time, Belinda’s behavior was negatively affected by her association with girls who were making poor choices. She is currently a participant in the Stay Alive program through the Church.

“It has a lot to offer us, the children, for our future development,” she continues. “The pledges help us to stay on track if we are going astray. The program is full of lessons that will help us make good choices."

Latter-day Saints strive to follow the example and teachings of Jesus Christ, including living a life of moral purity. The Church of Jesus Christ also encourages its members to be involved in community activities and efforts that promote good health and high moral standards.

Martin Obeng, Stay Alive director in Ghana and master trainer for West Africa, met with Church leaders on May 16, training them to help children and young people acquire skills in consequential thinking, responsible decision making and how to withstand negative influences.

He explained the program focuses on the 9-14-year-old age group because these are ages when children begin making decisions and accepting responsibilities for their decisions. He added that truancy and rebellion have not yet set in, hence children are ready to listen. 

Specific objectives of the Stay Alive program include – 

•    Build and strengthen families. Especially family communication regarding values, healthy relationships and appropriate sexual behavior.

•    Help children and their families recognize and appreciate the critical role that abstinence and fidelity play in HIV/AIDS prevention. 

•    Engender hope, individual worth and empowerment within African children.

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