Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Drug Awareness Day

In partnership with Scope, Muslim Education and Welfare Association (MEWA) and the Red Cross of Kilifi, the EAC held a Drug Awareness Day in Takaungu town on March 4th, 2010, coinciding with the Muslim celebration of their prophet's birth, Maulidi. All the organizations worked with the organizers of the Maulidi celebration to ensure coordination of the events of the day.

Four councilors tested for HIV/AIDS throughout the day, and a team of local Red Cross volunteers used skits and speeches to educate the community on the dangers of drug abuse. The message of the day was simple and effective - drug abuse is a disease like any other sickness, and members of the community who has this disease should not be turned away, they should be helped.

The location chosen for the event was the very center of Takaungu town. This area is where the drug users typically hang out looking for money and upsetting the balance of the community. We hoped the event would turn this location into something positive, at least for the day.

The day started with music from Big Bounce, a local DJ from Takaungu. Mohamed Said, the EAC's health education leader, took to the mic to announce that anyone could be tested for HIV/AIDS in the tents set up by the organizers.

To further mobilize the community, volunteers dressed like old-fashioned Kenyan police and went through the town bringing groups of people to the event site. At the busiest point, the site was surrounded by more than 300 children and adults! By the end of the three hour event, 53 people were tested, including many who admitted to having used drugs through needle injections.

The EAC and their partners are proud to offer successful events such as this and will continue to develop strategies to educate, test, and treat members of the community.

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