Taking advantage of his recent trip to Paris, AAD interviewed Gratien Chibungiri, coordinator of the SOS-Sida association and partner on the “Bukavu Speech Bubbles” project, to talk about the comic book distribution in South-Kivu, and the future of this partnership.
SOS-Sida is currently distributing the comic The Diamonds of Kamituga, written and illustrated by Congolese artist Séraphin Kajibwami and published at 100,000 copies by AAD, to the youth of South Kivu (DRC) in order to promote AIDS awareness and the importance of taking an HIV screening test.
Alongside this unique awareness project – Diamonds now being the most printed comic book in Sub-Saharan Africa – AAD financed the opening of an HIV screening center in Bukavu, managed by SOS-Sida. This center allows everyone to take a voluntary HIV test that is anonymous and free, as opposed to other centers in the region. Going beyond the test itself, SOS-Sida also offers information and advice to visitors and proposes personal care and medical follow-up to anyone who tests positive.
According to Chibungiri, using a comic book as an HIV prevention tool is having extremely positive results among young people: the visitation rates of the Bukavu screening center doubled since last year, with 1,000 people tested in just 5 months. SOS-Sida is now aiming to widen their activities to the rural areas of the province of South Kivu, where the need is immense and existing structures in the fight against AIDS are almost inexistent.
Today, this encouraging report pushes AAD to continue in this blossoming partnership and to think of new projects that can soon be launched in collaboration with SOS-Sida.