Kenyan youth take the stage to challenge HIV / AIDS myths and stigma.
In 1994 a group of young actors based at Nairobi's National Theater created Artnet Waves, an outreach program to promote HIV/AIDS awareness. The initial idea for the program was to hold an annual youth theater festival with an HIV/AIDS theme that would coincide with World AIDS Day. Artnet's National Youth AIDS Theater Outreach Program covers the regions of Rift Valley, Nyanza, Western, Nairobi, Mt. Kenya and Coast provinces, where 72% of Kenya's total population resides. Coordinators for the program train youth group leaders in organizing outreach events, attend rehearsals, and ensure that each group organizes at least four performances a month. They also assist group leaders in maintaining the accuracy of the HIV/AIDS messages and the quality of the productions. As of 1998, Artnet's outreach events have reached at least 400,000 people and this figure is projected to swell in the next few years. Some of the challenges faced by the program include gaining the trust of communities, and ensuring the groups have the capacity to provide accurate information and are able to adapt to changing informational needs.