Africa directions extended it youth activities to Mansa District of Luapula province in January 2009 as a pilot project supported by UNICEF for 6 months.
Given the projects’ success, UNICEF has extended its commitment allowing AD to open a youth center located in Kombaniya. The center is now fully functional and run by a team of 6 highly motivated young people. The center has facilities such as pool, table tennis, chess, gym, spin sport, video shows and sporting activities such as football, netball, and basketball. The center also has clubs for peer education, young mothers, drama, girls and young learners. Most recently, AD has launched the “Bebe” radio talk show on radio Yangeni which looks at cross cutting issues such as children’s rights & reproductive health.
While males tend to dominate activities at the Lusaka centers, Mansa is a whole different story. Here, females pack the center with the most successful activities being those such as young mothers’ sessions and girls’ club meetings. Also, partnerships with local schools are very strong as AD works with pupils in anti-AIDS groups to build their capacity. A recent addition of ‘peer educator of the month’ awards has really motivated the pupils and boosted attendance and participation levels. As a rural town, Mansa lacks many facilities & services found in bigger cities so the new center contributes to the community in many ways. In addition to its normal curriculum on reproductive health, the Mansa center focuses on community relevant issues such as child abuse & gender based violence.
The organization hopes to strengthen its relationship with the existing partners working in Mansa such as the Zambia Police, Ministry of Youth, Sport and Child Development, Mansa DHMT, UNFPA, District Commissioner’s Office, Ministry of Education (DEBS Office), Mansa AIDS task force, Victim Support Unit, CBO”s/Youth organizations and the general public.