By Our Reporter
The search for the next Mr & Miss Y Plus is on. This follows the launch of the Y Plus beauty pageant on Friday evening at a cocktail event held at Skyz Hotel which was graced by different stakeholders in the sexual and reproductive health and rights space including government officials and members from civil society.
Organised by the Uganda Network of Young People Living with HIV/AIDS (UNYPA), the pageant is aimed at fighting stigma and discrimination as well as gender based violence against people living with HIV/AIDS by building a generation of young advocates that is empowered with knowledge and advocacy skills to enable them influence policy, attitude and behavioral change among young people and stakeholders.
Addressing guests at the launch ceremony, Nicholas Niwagaba, the team leader at UNYPA recounted how far the pageant has come. “I was challenged with how to deal with the growing stigma and discrimination against young people living with HIV/AIDS and that is how the idea of this pageant was birthed.” He stated, adding that, “we started the pageant in 2014 with only 10 contestants and five years later, entering the 6th, I am glad to say that we have empowered over 200 ambassadors across the country.”
“Our mission is to create an enabling and supportive environment for young people living with HIV/AIDs so that these young people can become productive members of our society,” he further noted.
Returning for its 6th edition, the beauty pageant will be held under the theme, “peers making it happen”, with several auditions set to be held across the country where regional winners will be selected to compete nationally for the coveted crown.
Auditions will comprise a series of activities including school outreaches, health camps and community dialogues that will provide a platform for young people living with HIV/AIDs to speak openly about stigma in their community.
The regional auditions will first be hosted in Kampala district for central region on October 5, then Moroto district for the Northern region on October 12, Kasese district for the Western region on October 26 and finally Busia district for Eastern region on November 2.
The regional search will culminate with the grand finale slated for November 22 where ultimately Mr & Miss Y+ will be crowned.
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