16 February STI and Condom week February 16, 2017 By Tabisa Mntengwana Latest News 0 Prevention is better than cure!, this is the message everyone took home during the Metro Aids Council Condom Week event held at Braelyn Hall on Tuesday 14 February. The event was organised with the aim to look into the National Condom Week which is commemorated each year from 14 February until 21 February. The City joined thousands of South Africans in observing this week to increase awareness and to help fight the spread of HIV and Aids as well as caution on myths and stigmas around the virus and sexuality focusing on the community. Speaking about the initiative, Co-Chair of Metro Aids Council Nzuzo Novuka said people must know the importance of getting tested so that they don’t live in fear. “If you’re not infected it doesn’t mean you’re not affected. It is important to ask questions about matters or issues one is not aware of to gain more knowledge. The more one gets more insight the more it is advantageous to share information not just with family members but with the community at large,” said Novuka. He also encouraged residents to attend such programmes “as these forums provide knowledge and a clearer understanding of the various forms of STIs, the symptoms and the importance of getting it checked out before it is too late.” Ward Councillor Mendi Wetsetse said, “The community of Buffalo City Metro both young and old need to be part of sessions like this one to gain more information and to increase their knowledge on STI’s and sexuality associated with HIV and Aids.” “Let us all be responsible, love one another, support and encourage each other,” she said. Giving words of support, Nokuthula Tsawu from the Metro’s Disability Forum said, “Persons living with disabilities also need a voice as they also have sexual needs and need to beware of the dangers of not using protection during intercourse. Tsawu mentioned that women and children living with disability are the most vulnerable not only towards being victims of sexual abuse but in contracting various sexual infections. “The disability sector supports this initiative to address the stigma and myths around disability, reproductive health and sexuality as well as to raise awareness about STI’s and condom usage.” As part of the programme of the day, testing centres were also set up to encourage residents to get tested not only for STI’s or HIV but for diabetes and blood pressure levels and also got an opportunity to pose questions and comments to eliminate their fears. Nolizwi Mantsanga a resident from Duncan Village also touched upon the importance of not discriminating against people living with HIV and Aids. “We should be more knowledgeable about the various infections so we can understand and assist other people in our communities who are not aware about the virus.” “I have learned a lot today and will take what I have learned and share it with my children and my community,” she said. . Related BCM celebrates World Environment Week The purpose of the visit was to provide an educational experience about wildlife and the environment with this year’s theme in mind Connecting People to Nature. The children had the opportunity to drive through the park with the Game Rangers where they were taught all the different wildlife kept in the park and how each species makes an important contribution to the environment. Avuyile Plaatjies a Grade 10 pupil said, “We are very excited to be here and learn about the wildlife in the park this is a rare opportunity for us.” Highlighted on the trip was also the importance of insuring the survival of each animal and safeguarding them from extinction that might result from poaching. The day is celebrated annually on the 5th of June to raise global awareness about the significance of a healthy environment and to solve various environmental issues by implementing some actions to protect nature and Earth, leading to a positive and healthy environment for all. Jane Galo from Environmental Services said, “We need to educate our children about the importance of keeping a cleaner greener environment. We need to protect our wildlife for further generations.” The City has a week-long schedule of events to celebrate the environment which includes an Environmental Management Inspectorate Workshop at the Nahoon Estuary Reserve Wednesday June 7, the handover of municipal recycling bins will be on Thursday June 8 and finally the Commemoration of World Economic Day at the Mdantsane Sun Friday June 9. Prevention is better than a cure Dayile was speaking at the Sexually Transmitted Infections and Condom Week event held at the City Hall on Friday 12 February. “South Africa currently has the biggest antiretrovirals (ARVs) programme in the world. Almost 3 million lives have been saved through various programmes and forums such as these organised by the Metro Aids Council (MAC) which are dedicated towards the fight towards of HIV/Aids,” said Dayile. The event was held to increase awareness and to help fight the spread of HIV and Aids, myths and stigmas around the virus. The Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s) and Condom Week was commemorated from 7- 14 February 2016 with the theme Bring back the “I am responsible culture”. Amongst the various sectors there was BCMM Metro AIDS Council (MAC) which is a multi-stakeholder responsible for addressing vulnerability of persons being infected and affected by HIV and AIDS other sectors included the Disability Sector, The Elderly Forum, the BCMM Youth Council and the Gender Forum. Executive Mayor Alfred Mtsi said events of this nature allow people to share a common vision and discuss a common purpose in addressing a global issue that is affecting our societies. “We have a responsibility to be living examples in our communities we need to build our nation and the municipality has various programmes organised by the Metro Aids Council which is responsible for providing a platform for vulnerable groups to actively and meaningfully engage in creating developmental plans which will raise awareness around certain health issues such as STIs and HIV/Aids,” said Mtsi. There were various testing centres set up to encourage residents to get tested not only for STI’s or HIV but for diabetes and their blood pressure levels. A demonstration was undertaken by the BCMM Peer Educators on how to use and dispose of used male and female condoms. Speaking to the BCMM Website Team Ayanda Peter Special Programmes Unit Portfolio Head said it was important for us to create an event which would include all the sectors that we work with under the Special Programmes Unit. “It’s important that we uplift our communities and continue to remind them of the importance of using condoms and draw up strategies of how we can spread the word and create more awareness around STI and Condom Week,” said Peter. Nowase Solani a member of the BCMM Elderly Forum said it is important to hold these events and forums she said these sectors that are a part of the Special Programmes Unit need to reach out to the community and assist those that are infected and affected by HIV/Aids. “These forms provide a platform to share ideas and to exchange knowledge and provide a clearer understanding on various forms of STIs and the symptoms associated with them,” said Solani. A discussion was held where each member of the sectors under the Special Programmes Unit spoke about the theme for the year which is Bring back the “I am responsible culture” which motivates and promotes the young and the old to lead health and responsible lives. The members motivated the audience to use protection when they engage in sexual intercourse, they also discussed the importance of getting tested regularly for HIV/Aids, “Be responsible and know your status” was echoed throughout the discussions. Plant a tree, save a life Arbor Week is aimed at highlighting the importance of greening the community, this National Arbor Week kicked off from 1 to 7 September and it provides an opportunity to plant indigenous trees and educate the community about the importance of environmental sustainability. This week is set aside to provide an opportunity to plant indigenous trees and educate the community about the importance of environmental sustainability. The Metro’s Integrated Environmental Management and Sustainable Development Department went to Sandisiwe High School in Mdantsane to educate learners on the importance of recycling and take responsibility for the earth and the energy they use so they can contribute in the reduction of the carbon footprint. The common trees to be planted for 2015 include the Combretum krausii, Forest bushwilow and the Bosvaderlandswilg and the uncommon trees are the Heteromorpha arborescens, Parsley tree and the Wildepieterseliebos. “Arbor Week promotes planting and conserving trees as well as the release carbon emissions and to improve the quality of life and uplift the environment,” said Jane Galo the Metro’s Environmental Impact and Systems Officer Speaking the Metro's Website, Galo said that learners at Sandisiwe High School need to know about the importance of planning trees. “Planting trees does not only provides shelter but it also produces food for animals and converts carbon dioxide into oxygen.” She said that Arbor Week is celebrated internationally and highlights the importance of global sustainability. “Our role is to educate learners about the importance of the motto Reuse, Reduce, Recycle, Repair and Respect.” Galo also encouraged learners to prune their trees at home, to be environmentally aware and to share the knowledge they have learned with their families. The Metro donated five trees to the school which will be planted in celebration of Arbor Week. “Today I have learned how to not only save electricity and also to be wise with the way I use water at home and to sort out my garbage at home,” said Linathi Tyolo Learner from Sandisiwe High School. Siphamandla Ngwatyu Learner from Sandisiwe High School added that he learned a lot, this was an educational and interactive discussion. “I have learned that trees reduce soil erosion. I am looking forward to educating his siblings and parents at home.” Bumb’ingomso launched in BCM The Venue at Hemmingway’s Mall was bursting with song, traditional dancing and poetry when the young women were celebrated at the launch of the Bumb’ingomso project last week. The project was formally formed in 2012 by the Federal Republic of Germany and the South African government through the KfW Development Bank. KfW has been working in South Africa since 1995, they have been focusing on prevention of HIV as at a provincial and national level to make sure the spread of HIV comes to an end. Speaking about the purpose of the day Chief Executive Officer for DGMT David Harrison said, “I would like to thank Buffalo City and the German Government for the opportunity for us to make this day possible. Bumb’ingomso aims to help reduce the risk and spread of HIV in the Metro.” He further added that the trust wants to help create better futures for the young girls of the Metro, we want to create an HIV free generation. “A generation that is filled with hope and future leaders of this country instead of victims of some support group, that is why we have partnered with Bumb’ingomso to make this possible to nurture young girls as we believe young girls are important and they tend to be more vulnerable.” Adding to that Head of Development Corporation-German Embassy Volker Oel said, “We are very excited about this new programme and we as we want to give young people a sense of urgency as the infected rate continues to grow, they will take priority as they are future leaders.” “We would like to see all clinics in Buffalo City be dominated by young people, we need to find clinically proven aspects and continue within them. At the end of the value chain the Department of Health will help come with treatment, there can never be enough intervention until there is no more infection spreading.” “In the years 2001/2002 and 2004 young people between the ages of 14 and 24 years everyone was infected with HIV,” he said. Oel added that one in four young women is infected, however that rate has now come down over the last few years. Addressing the crowd MEC for Health Dr Pumza Dyantyi said, “I am really excited about this project in the City, The statistics speak for themselves, it also shows that women of this age group 14 and 25 years are more infected than the male of this group as it has also been discovered that young girls also sleep with older men.” “The new trend of blessers has hit the country like a storm and our country is in danger, however the blessers are not alarming, the statistics are. Since Bumb’ingomso began it has worked with numerous young girls as part of their programme to support and work with young girls who want to make a difference in their lives in the Buffalo City are. Speaking as part of the perspective of the youth active member from the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) Aphiwe Ntlemeza said, “I hope the programme will also find its way to high schools as well as higher education institutions not excluding drop puts as these institutions represent the most vulnerable groups too.” “Condoms are seen as socio cultural factors oppress and construct women as men’s objects of desire and pleasure, thus increasing women’s vulnerability to HIV infection as women are unable to negotiate for condom use.” She added that prevention strategies should also focus on the male contraceptive to use condoms as means to also protect both males and females. Bumb’ingomso is a four multifaceted project which has partnered with the following organisations Small projects Foundation (SPF), Beyond Zero (BZ), Masimanyane Women Support Centre and Harambe Youth Accelerator. Metro gets its own graders The graders were handed over to the Mdantsane Roads Department on last week in an effort to help make the job easier and faster. In the past the Metro only hired the machines from service providers and that was costing the institution dearly. During the IDP roadshows last year the upgrading of suburbia roads and the maintenance of rural roads were amongst the top issues the community were complaining about. The machines will help with the construction of roads, attend to emergency request from ward councillors, maintain rural roads and also attend to roads after heavy rains. Speaking at the event Executive Mayor Alfred Mtsi said, “The purpose of purchasing these graders is to maintain, and where necessary to re-gravel our roads in both midlands and coastal areas. Most of the current plants are old and often brake down and are expensive to fix at times, however we believe maintenance is a big challenge but we are trying.” “Two graders are not enough, but it is a positive start to plan for more. Investment in infrastructure remains a priority, it is the foundation for the economic growth of our Metro,” adds Mtsi. Speaking about the background of the project Acting Head of Department Luyanda Mbula said, “Today we are here to introduce and welcome our new addition to our fleet. For the last three or four years we have noticed that the City has been spending a lot of money on hiring of the plant to assist municipality.” “If you look at our Metro in the last two or three years, it has expanded in terms of addition of villages from Great Kei and Ngqushwa and other surrounding villages. These two graders are going to assist us in terms of maintenance, rehabilitation and the upgrade of our road network.” “We have about 1 200 kilometers gravel road network and that is the gravel network which we have to cover,” adds Mbula. Operators will be trained to do preventative maintenance operations such as weekly greasing, daily check list to prolong the life span of the equipment’s. Expressing his gratitude BCMM worker and grader driver, Bulelekile Tolbaard said, “I have been working here for five years now and what I love the most about our Metro is that service delivery is a priority. I feel honored that I will too help in making that happen.” Xolisa Bhedesi who is one of the grader operators said, “I feel very happy about these new graders they are going to help us so much in doing our job. What excites me more is the training that we will go through so that we can drive the graders better and with caution.” In culminating the handover Ward Councillor Landile Vika said, “Driving this grader alone is a skill and drivers need a training to operate the grader. It is going to create jobs as there will be people needed to drive them.” Business skills for developing SMMEs Ntlanganiso was one of the entrepreneurs who attended the Small and Medium Enterprises’ training programme at the Duncan Village Youth Advisory Centre last week. The Visual Artist who has already started his own company is currently training 80 up and coming young artists on performing arts and sound from eight different schools from his community. Speaking to BCMM Website, he said that the training has given him a different perspective on how to run his own business and it has also helped him grow as a business person. “As an artist you always focus on your art and not how you can make a living out of your creativity. This programme has helped me and others to see a bigger picture of what we can do to sustain ourselves as well as operate sustainable businesses.” However, the young entrepreneur said the programme was short and had hoped that it could be extended to more than a week. “I wish the duration of the training could be extended and the facilitator can go deeper into the curriculum because now we are currently on the entry level of business development and management.” The initiative was organised by the Duncan Village Youth Advisory Centre partnering with the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) to train 30 SMME’s from Duncan Village and the surrounding areas. Participants were skilled on business profiling, how to source funding for their businesses, how to come up with ideas and that are needed to run an effective and viable business. Youth Advisory Officer Zimbini Kangapi said, “The programme was designed to help potential entrepreneurs intending to start a business and who need the skills to manage their small businesses effectively as well as those who are already operating their businesses. “The training will help the entrepreneurs acquire basic small business management skills and knowledge that will contribute to the survival and growth of their businesses. This will help existing small business owners enhance their management skills in preparation for business growth.” Kangapi added that the SMMEs were selected from the DV Business Support Centre database and that young people must utilise the centres in order to benefit from the programmes that are run in the centre. BCMM has three youth advisory centres one in King William’s Town, Mdantsane and in Duncan Village. The training took place from 29 February to 2 March 2016. For more information on programmes run in the centre contact the DV Business Centre on 043 722 0641. Comments are closed.