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CFSC Quotations: Toward a New Kind Of Communication to Defeat Zambia's HIV/AIDS Pandemic

Minister Gladys Nyirongo, Zambia's minister of sport, youth and child development, recently spoke at a UNICEF-Zambia workshop on communication for social change at which the Consortium's Denise Gray-Felder and consultant Ailish Byrne worked with local community leaders on using and monitoring the CFSC process. Workshop participants aim to create a social movement within Zambia in which every resident knows his or her HIV status.

""¦10 million children globally have lost at least one parent to the pandemic, and by 2010, one million more children will be orphaned. Currently in Zambia, 15 percent of all children under 14 years are orphans, 12 percent of whom are under 5. We cannot just stand by and allow this to continue unabated.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is no cure for AIDS. "¦But it can be prevented, and it is a condition that can be managed. The Ministry of Health and National Aids Council continues to make tremendous efforts in ensuring that information and services on HIV and AIDS reach as many people as possible. Yet even where we could be scoring successes, we are barely there.

Change begins with being willing to be open to a new way of thinking, to learning from new ideas and speaking openly about what we are often unsure of or sometimes makes us uncomfortable.

Dear participants, your challenge here today is to begin the process of leading that change. Change in the way we have been approaching communication, especially in light of providing the voice and space for the voiceless and of empowering communities to tackle the social challenges that the pandemic has brought with it.

An additional challenge will be evaluating the results this new communication shift will yield.

As partners in communication for social change, it is essential we develop a shared vision that unites us all and the realization that no single organization can realize this vision alone.

It is for this reason that my ministry is pleased to be part of this initiative, particularly in improving the situation of youth and children.

The world has the knowledge, the resources and the legal imperative to defeat this pandemic. The choice to change our situation begins with each and every one of us.

Listen to the voice of the voiceless. Have passion to save our nation before we have a nation traumatized. Stand up for this noble cause. Your involvement is needed. Together, we fight"”and together we win."

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