Every two years, the Ministry of Culture organizes the National Cultural Festival in the province of Inhambane in Mozambique. The festival hosts domestic and international artists, cultural agents, and practitioners for a weeklong celebration of diversity. This year, the festival took place from the 13th to 20th of August and included HIV/AIDS awareness workshops that were jointly organized by UNESCO and UNFPA and led by Associação Coalizão da Juventude Moçambicana.
By focusing on scaling up Comprehensive Sexuality Education and capacity building in Eastern and Southern Africa, the workshops provided participants access to high quality sexuality education, increasing their knowledge on sexual and reproductive health and rights. About 50 young people attended each workshop, which were led by Associação Coalizão da Juventude Moçambicana, an NPO that works in the area of Sexual and Reproductive Health for adolescents and youth, and whose focus is primarily on young girls, HIV/AIDS and gender issues.
“The workshops raised awareness on various issues of Sexual and Reproductive Health and on emerging issues related to HIV and AIDS prevention. Sessions were interactive and encouraged participants to make confident and educated decisions about their sexual health. Young people learned and practiced how to use both male and female condoms and were able to speak freely and contribute to discussions,” said Angelina Tivane with UNESCO.
“The Festival provided an opportunity to host these important workshops on Comprehensive Sexuality Education. The sessions highlighted important issues that directly effect young people in Mozambique, issues such as sexuality and reproductive health and HIV and AIDS prevention.”
The National Cultural Festival showcases the contemporary and ethnic heritage of Mozambique, as well as the commitment of the State to cultural diversity and to programmes, such as Comprehensive Sexuality Education. Going forward, a level of collaboration and innovation with other sectors, such as industry, commerce and finance, will further solidify the country’s commitment to the economy of cultural production, but also national development.