details

Youth Association for Actions against HIV/AIDS (AJAS), Orientale

AJAS is a registered NGO with the district government.

Location

Bunia, Ituri district, Orientale province
Bunia, Mongbwalu, and Mahagi

Sectors of Intervention

At-risk youths; HIV/AIDS prevention; education

History

On December 28, 2001, a group of youths in Bunia created AJAS (L’Association des jeunes pour les actions contre le VIH/SIDA). At this time, Bunia was the epicenter of conflict in the Ituri district, and most social institutions had broken down. In this context, a group of youths concerned about HIV/AIDS organized to provide information and change the behavior of local young people engaging in high-risk activities. For example, many Ugandan soldiers stationed in Bunia had local girlfriends; knowing the high prevalence of HIV in Uganda, AJAS sought to educate local youths to avoid the spread of HIV.

During 2002–03, AJAS worked to build its capacity and knowledge. Members attended conferences and meetings to learn more about HIV/AIDS, and networked with other organizations working on this issue. During this time, AJAS also worked on its statutes and organization. In 2005, it created youth groups in each of Bunia’s 12 administrative quarters; these groups were fully operational by 2006. In 2006, AJAS also created a youth football (soccer) team as a forum to organize young people, educate them about HIV/AIDS, and use them to help educate others. AJAS brought together youths from different parts of Bunia, and from different ethnicities, to help unify young men using sport. In recent years, AJAS has conducted dozens of trainings for thousands of youths, teachers, government officials, and others in Bunia, Mahagi, and Mongbwalu.

AJAS has for many years been an implementing organization for larger local and international organizations—i.e., funding passes through three or four organizations before reaching AJAS, which carries out the actual work. AJAS has a strong cadre of dedicated, professional members who largely work without pay and contribute more than one-third of AJAS’s annual budget. In the last few years, AJAS has worked with Tearfund, Oxfam-Québec, Save the Children UK, and World Bank’s MAP.

Mission

AJAS seeks to involve youths in the struggle against the spread of STDs, especially HIV/AIDS.

Objectives

  • Inform youth about STDs and HIV/AIDS, and mobilize them to prevent the spread of these diseases
  • Assist people infected with STDs and HIV/AIDS to obtain medical treatment
  • Network with other groups working on health, with youths, and on related topics, to strengthen the overall struggle against the spread of STDs and HIV/AIDS
  • Conduct research on at-risk communities to inform AJAS’s activities
  • Educate its members about current medical and public health knowledge, and strategies for intervention

Populations Served

Youths; teachers; government officials; the general population

Programs

  • SALT: SALT stands for “support and stimulation; appreciation and help; link and listen; transfer and transform.” This program targets at-risk youths in three parts of Bunia town that have few health or education services. AJAS seeks to mobilize these youths to organize local education programs that do not require external funding for other at-risk youths.
  • Alternative livelihoods for youths in Mongbwalu: AJAS is continuing with its own funds a program in Mongbwalu—a major gold-mining area 80 kilometers (50 miles) northwest of Bunia—to get youths currently engaged in mining to return to school or learn new vocations.
  • Community education on STDs and HIV/AIDS: AJAS continues its long-running program of organizing community meetings that target youths and teachers to prevent the spread of STDs and HIV/AIDS. AJAS uses trained public educators, music, and drama to carry its message to the community.

Governance

AJAS has 24 members, all of whom are part of its general assembly. The generalassembly is the supreme governing body and meets twice per year. Two members of the generalassembly compose the internal audit unit; they conduct internal audits every six months. The generalassembly elects a five-member board of directors. The board members serve five-year terms and meeteach month. An eight-person bureau of coordination, which meets every Friday, runs AJAS’s activities.When AJAS has funding, it employs people with contracts. Currently (as of March 2011), AJAS hasno funding, so it is conducting its work relying solely upon donations from its members. AJAS has 24volunteers in Bunia, 12 in Mongbwalu, and two in Mahaghi. Among its volunteers, AJAS is roughlysplit between the number of men and women. AJAS has qualified staff and volunteers, including anurse, a public health specialist, and others who have attended numerous trainings in Bunia aboutHIV/AIDS and public health.

AJAS has an account with BIC in Bunia. For financial, administrative,and personnel management, AJAS has:

  • A procedures manual with policies for financial management; hiring and personnel issues; and purchasing policies and procedures: YES
  • A computerized accounting system: NO
  • A clearly defined accounting process: YES
  • Clear procedures for management of payroll, petty cash, procurement, and disbursements: YES
  • Staff with the technical expertise to undertake projects: YES

Strengths

  • Has a volunteer corps that is committed to the organization’s mission
  • Is known and respected by local authorities, youth groups, and churches
  • Has all of its documents in order; has statutes, a strategic plan, a procedures manual, a finance manual, and a system of evaluation
  • Is part of the national network of Congolese youth groups and has strong ties to Civil Society, the HIV cluster in Bunia, and other groups

Needs

  • Financing for its activities
  • Materials such as vehicles to transport its teams to community meetings, etc.
  • Has district recognition, but would like to obtain national registration status
  • An external audit of its finances

Funders and Budget

In 2010, AJAS’s budget was $25,282; of this amount, AJAS’s members contributed $10,424. Funders include CESVI, Save the Children UK, UNICEF, World Bank’s MAP, Caritas Bunia, Oxfam-Québec, and Tearfund.

Accomplishments

  • In 2010, conducted trainings for more than 4,600 youths, teachers, government officials, and pregnant women
  • In 2010, used its own funds to produce 15 radio spots and pay for them to air on Radio Fides Tujenge and Radio CANDIP in Bunia
  • Since 2006, has sponsored a football (soccer) team in Bunia that unites youths from different parts of the city and different ethnic groups, and enables AJAS to use the team players as ambassadors for the prevention of STDs and HIV/AIDS

Organizational Vision

A DRC free from HIV/AIDS

Project Proposals

  • Organizational capacity building: AJAS would like to organize four trainings for its members on organizational management; IT use; financial and administrative management; and the conception, monitoring, and evaluation of projects. AJAS would also like Internet access for its office, new computers, and printers. Cost: $33,000, including a $3,000 contribution from AJAS
  • Developing youth groups and education in Mongbwalu: AJAS would like to train 20 community leaders in Mongbwalu, who would educate 500 local youths about STDs and HIV/AIDS. The Mongbwalu area is particularly at risk due to the large number of youths engaged in mining and the high prevalence of prostitution, which is associated with the mining. Cost: $30,000
  • Developing youth groups and education in Mahagi: AJAS would like to train 20 community leaders in Mahagi, who would educate 500 local youths about STDs and HIV/AIDS. Cost: $30,000

Contact

Aimé Kpaki, general coordinator, +243.992.603.216, +243.810.852.893, and Achille Ngbagaro, secretary, +243.812.007.139, ajasbia@yahoo.fr

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