Deputy Minister of Social Development, Mme Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, has partnered with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to launch ChommY, a social and behavioral change program. The program aims to support children aged 10 to 14 years from Ekurhuleni hostels, promote awareness, develop essential life skills, and empower young individuals to make informed choices.
Investing in the Future with ChommY
ChommY’s launch, themed “Invest in my Future…Protect me Today,” is scheduled for 13 May 2023 at Vosloorus Civic Centre. The program aims to contribute to the reduction of high prevalence of HIV infections, substance abuse, and prevention of teenage pregnancy among the youth in the City of Ekurhuleni.
Building on the Success of YOLO Program
The ChommY program builds upon the foundation laid by the Department’s You Only Live Once (YOLO) program, which was initiated in 2015. YOLO educates young people aged 15 to 24 years about HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, and social change. The program has contributed to a decline in HIV prevalence among youth aged 15 to 24, from 6.7% in 2002 to 5.5% in 2018.
Reaching Out to Overlooked Age Group
The evaluation of the YOLO program revealed that children between 10 and 14 years of age had been overlooked, despite reports of risky sexual and social behavior among this age group. ChommY aims to foster a positive friendship among these younger children by encouraging them to motivate one another to minimize risky behavior and social ills, such as bullying.
Empowering Young Minds with ChommY
ChommY provides children with an opportunity to create a personal plan for their lives, highlighting the crucial role parents and communities play in enabling young people to make informed decisions. The program is part of an array of Social Behavioural Change (SBC) programs offered by the Department of Social Development.
Engaging Activities for the Youth
To make the program more engaging and effective, ChommY has incorporated various activities and events as part of its launch in the metropolitan. Children from hostels in Ekurhuleni will participate in indigenous games, share their social experiences and solutions, and interact with Bokamoso, the program’s mascot.
Fostering Open Communication and Shared Responsibility
ChommY focuses on addressing the root causes of risky behaviors and social issues. The program encourages open communication and dialogue between children, parents, and the community at large, fostering a sense of shared responsibility in creating a safe and supportive environment for the youth.
Inspiring Change in the Community
The ChommY initiative inspires young children to become agents of change in their communities. By learning about the risks and consequences of their actions and the importance of making informed decisions, the children can develop a sense of ownership and responsibility towards their lives and the community as a whole.
A Brighter Future with ChommY
Through the ChommY program, Ekurhuleni’s youth will have access to the necessary support, guidance, and tools to overcome the challenges they face in their everyday lives. By empowering the younger generation to make informed choices, ChommY is taking a step towards creating a brighter and more prosperous future for the Ekurhuleni community.