Each year on World Aids Day, people across the globe unite in the fight against HIV; to show solidarity with people living with HIV and remember those who have died from AIDS-related illnesses. Kenya is considered an HIV high burden country (among only five other African countries) with about 1.6 million people living with HIV infections This is a major health concern and has had a profound impact on Kenya’s socio-economic space.
In light of these grim statistics, Ol Pejeta showed their full support at the World Aids Day awareness event this year. Laikipia County’s ceremony was held in a village called “Location” in Rumuruti and the theme of the day was “Step up for HIV prevention - ‘Youth na Plan’”. According to a report by the National Aids Control Council (NACC), Kenya has the third highest number of new HIV infections among young people in the East and Central African region. Furthermore, there are 238,987 young people between the ages of 15 to 24 living with HIV. These figures underscore the importance of the youth as a critical demographic if we are to win the war on HIV/AIDS.
The group that represented Ol Pejeta at the celebrations.
Our delegation was led by the Peer Counselors team and staff from our Human Capital Department. The Peer Counselors are a group of Ol Pejeta employees who serve as positive influences among the workforce, especially on matters to do with HIV/AIDS and drugs. Over 450 people from the county attended the event, among them the Laikipia County Director for Health, Dr Mogoi, Regional Coordinator on HIV/AIDS, and Dr Mochama, among other medical practitioners. Also in attendance were various HIV survivor support groups from Laikipia, who elaborated on HIV sensitization and how to prevent stigmatisation and discrimination of victims. Free HIV testing and counselling were provided for attendees in a safe and educational manner. Ol Pejeta and our partners Serena Hotels provided lunch for all the participants who came to commemorate the occasion.
Our participation in the World Aids Day is not just a once off – we have quarterly HIV/AIDS and health talks in different staff camps on the conservancy. We believe is better than cure, and such avenues are vital if everyone is to have access to accurate, helpful information - which will in turn ensure a healthy and happy workforce.