Uganda Network of Young People Living with HIV/AIDS (UNYPA) a non-profit focused on fighting HIV/AIDs stigma & discrimination among the youth and improving access to Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) is back yet again with the 7th Edition of its Y+ Beauty pageant. Amidst and despite the current challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, UNYPA has gone a step ahead to organize the pageant that will help disseminate information about HIV/AIDS and also tackle the socio-economic, psychological, and physical challenges experienced by youth positively living with the virus.
The pageant is an avenue for young people living with HIV to propel HIV activism and awareness. Every year the pageant has attracted increasing numbers of participants since its inception in 2014, with previous contestants standing out as Y Plus ambassadors that have invariably been at the frontline to fight discrimination through various activities involving school outreaches, peer to peer support groups, and at national & international representations and dialogues.
The pageant will run in 3 phases, minus its launch slated for the 25th September 2020 at Kampala Serena Hotel and thereafter regional auditions will be held from the 7th to 30th October 2020, followed by a week-long boot camp for all successful contestants from the 13th to 19th November 2020 where they will be involved in capacity building and strengthening training.
The grand finale will then be held at the 3 months culmination that will be extensively utilized to equip said contestants, with each contestant subsequently required to showcase their advocacy skills, knowledge on HIV/SRHR and share an individual action plan on the steps they hope to take to fight Gender-Based Violence, stigma & discrimination before a highly competent jury. Rewards will be presented to all winners and thereafter a year-long campaign will be kicked off by UNYPA and the associated stakeholders to fight HIV-related stigma & discrimination in each region of Uganda with a focus on youth involvement and participation .
The pageant will be available on digital & social platforms including television and UNYPA social media pages to maximize the participation of the digitally savvy who’s attendance will be a boost regardless of the various Covid-19 guidelines and SOPs put in place to govern the entire campaign.