Choma Gives Young Girls Online HIV Education
Author: Aline Elsermans
Tuesday 5th of May 2015 11:38:31 AM

Choma, an online magazine for girls between the ages of 15 and 25, developed an online educational game. It is part of a whole series of interactive, online formats developed for the Choma Project to help young girls with questions about boys, sex, relationships, but also fashion, lifestyle and friendship. The online game has been available in the app store for a few weeks.

 

Choma was launched in October 2013 in partnership with the Charlize Theron Outreach Project and the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ). At that time, HIVSA was running a few projects looking after young, pregnant and HIV-positive women. But there was no contact point for young women who were struggling with really everyday questions about love, school, health and their future. Choma is aimed at this target group, and wants to help them by way of counseling and education work.

 

Choma started this project because only 26percent of girls know the infectiousness of HIV and of the 400,000 new HIV infections each year in South Africa, around half are young girls between 15 and 25 years of age. Education programs have so far remained unsuccessful, as in school classes the topic receives scant attention, and those who no longer go to school can no longer be reached by those programs anyway.  At home, conversations about sex and relationships are taboo. By now, about 80 percent of all students in South Africa own a mobile phone, and use it to get online. So Choma decided to educate online.

 

24 hours a day, two moderators tend to the questions that the girls send in to "Ask Choma." The chat can be carried out publicly or privately and profile pictures and usernames can be designed as the girls wish, in order to remain anonymous. Once a week, Dr. Sindi gives tips on health and wellbeing on her blog. Alongside the numerous online offers, Choma is also trying to get people involved offline. For this, they offer workshops in schools and universities.

 

 

In the long run, Choma wants to contribute to an HIV-free generation, and so does Designers Against Aids! Good job Choma!

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