10 May 2023
In order to assist children aged between 10 and 14 years from Ekurhuleni hostels, the Deputy Minister of Social Development, Mme Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, will in partnership USAID, launch ChommY - a social and behavioural change programme, on 13 May 2023, in Vosloorus Civic Centre.
Observed under theme; “Invest in my Future…Protect me Today”, ChommY aims to generate knowledge, develop skills, and empower young people to make informed choices and contribute on reducing high prevalence of HIV infections, substance abuse and prevention of teenage pregnancy.
ChommY in the City of Ekurhuleni is being launched in the context of the Department’s You Only Live Once (YOLO) programme which was launched in 2015 to educate young people between the ages of 15 and 24 years about HIV/Aids chronic disease, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy and being agents of social change. YOLO was established as part of the Department’s Comprehensive Strategy on HIV and Aids.
According to Statistics South Africa’s 2018 HIV Prevalence Report, HIV prevalence among the youth aged 15 – 24 declined over time from 6.7% in 2002 to 5.5% in 2018. Despite the decline, to date, HIV infections amongst the youth remain relatively high. This is hugely attributed to the behavioural, social, and structural drivers of HIV, which contribute to youth being vulnerable to HIV and AIDS pandemic.
Upon assessment of the YOLO programme, one of the findings was the distinct omission of children aged between 10 and 14, while reports have shown that some of them were already involved in risky sexual and social behaviour.
ChommY, a colloquial term for “friend” seeks to build a positive friendship among children of between 10 and 14 years and to encourage the young boys and girls to motivate one another to minimise risky behaviour and social ills, including, bullying.
The programme gives children the opportunity to develop a personal plan for their lives and emphasises the importance of support from parents and communities to enable young people to make informed decisions. The programme forms part of a basket of Social Behavioural Change (SBC) programmes offered by the Department of Social Development.
Children from hostels in Ekurhuleni will form part of the launch in the metropolitan to participate in indigenous games, share their social experiences and solutions and interact with the programme’s mascot Bokamoso.
Members of the media are invited to attend and cover the launch of ChommY planned as follows:
Date: Saturday, 13 May 2023
Venue: Vosloorus Civic Centre, in Ekurhuleni – Gauteng Province
ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT