You made me know who I am…
The International AIDS Day, the prevention session, some good talks with great activists calling for youth leadership combined to my devoted love for human rights. Yes! This is just how I met my aim in life.
In 2008, after attending my first conference on HIV and AIDS, I realized that what I wanted to do with my life, is going beyond my formal clothing and perfect smile of the hotel manager I used to be.
The next day, late in the afternoon, I knocked the door of an NGO called AIDS Algérie: Hello, I am willing to dedicate my time and everything I’ve got to contribute to the fight against AIDS.
For me, this was the most remarkable step toward true happiness and active citizenship.
My journey in the AIDS response started providing peer education among university students. For me, field work and outreach programs contribute to the creation of a direct impact on the target population and implant effective communication between peers for positive change in behavior, access to information and its assimilation as well as orientation to health facilities and counseling.
My experience as a Y-PEERian helped to build my communication skills. The support of the NGOs: Aids and El Hayet guided me to identify clear roles for me as a young activist in the support to key populations as well as to people living with HIV to meet the national goals of my country while including the international targets from the MDGs, the political declaration and UNAIDS strategy by 2015.
From outreach to programming, elaboration of proposals, reporting, monitoring, media, planning, civil society opened to me all doors to meet meaningful participation not only in SRHR of young people but also in processes of strategic thinking in the Aids response.
In summer 2011, the office of UNAIDS rewarded me with an amazing experience of capacity building. I became a trainee and benefited of it’s support to clearly understand and meet the global policies of programs fighting AIDS. Thanking them would never be enough for their availability to assist me and believe in my abilities of a young leader in my country and my region. Probably, one of the most noteworthy confidence UNAIDS and the NGOs I work with gave me was during my participation in the new generation leadership of UNAIDS secretariat called CrowdOutAIDS.
This project used media tools and crowd sourcing technology and aimed at designing a strategy by and for youth to better involve them in the Aids response and better respond to what is important to them. Since the launch of the initiative, with peers, we had a productive role in the discussions at country, regional and national level on subjects that concern us as young people such as reproductive health, prevention, access to services and fight against stigma and discrimination as well as empowerment of leadership, technical and financial support and gender equalities. During the period of share, I joined offline open forums where I could work on bringing together youth activists, vulnerable and most at risk youth to participate with their recommendations. Afterwards, I was selected to be in the drafting committee where I could continue defending the concerns of youth from the MENA region. As challenging and hard as it seemed to be, this first collective action of young people to share their perspectives and ensure their voice is heard is the most revolutionary, informed, supportive, equal and respectful step toward youth leadership.
This is my humble story among values, believes, people and loads of hopes for a cause that knew how to dominate all of me to defend it and stand up for it today, tomorrow and forever…