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Youth Engagement in Zambia

The VITALITY teams are highly committed to community engagement, as our follower know well. Ongoing engagement programmes with young people operate at both sites in Zambia and Zimbabwe, which aim to maintain young people’s interest and participation, not only in the study but in other health associated matters. Where possible, they also try to reward them with additional activities, thereby fostering an even closer relationship with the young people.

The teams also strive to stimulate young peoples interest in science as a potential future career choice by way of discussion forums, sharing information and offering incentives, to this unique stakeholder group. Early in May (11th) VITALITY colleagues in Zambia visited Bauleni School, Lusaka, to talk with 40 students about the risks associated with teenage pregnancy and how to avoid it. This visit was prompted by concerns raised by parents and other stakeholders at an earlier Participant Advisory Group (PAB) meeting which the team were quick to address. The session provoked many questions and a stimulating discussion.

Molly Chisenga talking to pupils at Bauleni School

The same month, our Zambia team provided 15 pupils from John Howard Community School with a range of health information before taking them to visit a local clinic to show them some of the equipment being used in the clinic and laboratory where their use was explained by the staff. The idea was that this experience might encourage them to consider a career in science and potentially become the researchers of the future. Our photo shows pupils waiting to observe the lab technician using a microscope

The very next day, a different group of pupils from the same school whom the team had also been working with on other health themes, were taken to the Lusaka National Museum, where 21 young people had a wonderful time. The museum staff told the pupils about the value of a museum, together with a history of the Lusaka museum. Details on each and every item in the museum were given and the pupils learnt how their ancestors were able to diagnosis and treat certain conditions, showing them the herbs, roots, leaves that were used.

The pupils were really excited to visit the museum for the first time and here are some of their comments:

Oh, this is how a museum looks like” “How did they manage to collect all this stuff?” “Yes, we learnt this at school!” “This is how smelting was done in olden days”. “Whoa! I did not know that caves looked like this!” Summing up, one pupil stated:

“ Thank you so much VITALITY project for this opportunity - we have learnt so much”

Pupils at the entrance to the museum - the boys were being shy!

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