UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, participation in the annual Muscat Festival 2015 and supported the Youth Peer Education Network (Y-PEER), the Y-PEER, has begun from the 22nd of January 2015 at Naseem Gardens.
A group of the Youth Peer Education Network (Y-PEER) volunteers trained on health issues and civic subjects by MOH expert and engaged by UNFPA GCC conducted activities that attracted visitors at the Muscat Festival through their theatre performance, question and answer interactions, group discussions along with games and quizzes during the weekends. Y-PEERs are a network of young peers specializing in raising awareness on substance abuse and other health issues among the youth, who work closely with the Ministry of Health (MOH).
The participation spanned for three weekends, and the first two weekends were met with enthusiasm, especially for youth who were eager to learn more about the network and what they are about. The UNFPA Y-PEERs corner, which is within the MOH awareness generation tent, was alive with the Y-PEER “Edutainment” activities, and found young and old alike interacting with the activities the Y-PEER's had set. The actions focused on raising awareness of the network, MOH and UNFPA mandate in general, highlighting its presence in the GCC and how the public can get involved to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled.
Y-PEER Oman Focal Point in-charge, Mr. Mazin Al Araimi, to address the existence of taboos as an obstacle for information dissemination, and ignorant/judgmental behaviuor as a strong contributor to the discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS, our network disseminates messages on stigma and discrimination attached with HIV through innovative paintings. Many visitors like to wait and read the messages on the paintings and mostly these messages are in bilingual, as we have a large migrants working and living around Muscat.
This collaboration has been following successful partnership programmes taking place since 2008 between the MOH and MOH HIV division and the UNFPA. The Month long activities were extremely successful and reached a large base of the population, both nationals and internationals that frequent the festival during this time.
This year the UNFPA aimed and establish new partnerships with Government counterparts and expand the mandate of the network, which focuses on issues most relevant to youth, by partnering with the various sections of the MOH.