Straight Talk Among Youth in Schools (STAYS)

*This project is now complete*

Health programs such as DRC (Congo) STAYS program have played a significant role in the decreasing prevelance of HIV.

The STAYS project used an innovative education program to combat the entrenched ignorance surrounding safe sex practices.

​“I am very pleased with this teaching; I never realised that I was at risk of getting HIV. I made the decision to get tested with my wife…”
​-Attendee of a STAYs workshop

ABN 59 792 865 372

Project Extended - Project targets DRC gender violence

Annual Report 2014

A PROGRAM to educate high school students on the dangers of HIV/AIDS is being extended, with a new emphasis on reducing violence against girls and women.

STAYS (Straight Talk Amongst Youth in Schools) has created for the youth a communication network on sex-related issues and includes formal sex education lessons conducted in classes, but to date has not  integrated the problem of gender-based sexual violence.

The program, in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is run by the Anglican Church Province of the Congo in partnership with the Archbishop of Sydney’s Anglican Aid.

In seeking support, our partner church in the DRC explains the problems: “Girls are particularly targeted by the perpetrators of rape and consequently by HIV infection. At the same time, they are hardly reached by HIV and SGVB (sexual gender-based violence) prevention programs, one of the factors being the taboo accompanies sex-related issues in our African societies.

“This leaves the youth in ignorance and with no self-defence strategies against sexual violence on one hand and HIV and STIs (sexually transmitted infections) on the other.

“Girls and women are often treated as though they have little value, and this is the result of traditional mind-sets and sexual taboos. Girls are often responsible for all their family’s household chores and are frequently deprived of the chance to go to school, limiting their opportunities in life.”

The project will engage both boys and girls in the prevention of sexual gender-based violence and the promotion of gender equality as well.

The local church will train religious leaders, including Moslems, to increase their awareness and reinforce their communication skills on HIV and sexual violence, sexuality and reproductive health. They will train youth group leaders who will be the activists on these issues.