Fellow Since 2008
Réseau Afrikaans Jeunesse Santé et Développement au Burkina Faso (RAJS/BF)
This profile was prepared when Bagnomboé Bakiono was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
National responses to the HIV/AIDS crisis in various African countries have mostly focused on properly identifying and diagnosing the virus and overcoming cultural misconceptions about the extent of the HIV/AIDS threat. Bagnomboé, however, has taken these efforts a step further, using local youth to promote education that helps diagnose the disease, and more importantly, prevents new infections from occurring altogether. His work is reversing long-standing taboos about youth sexuality and giving more responsibility to the young people most threatened by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In the system he set up, young people are key players in disseminating information and promoting healthy practices through peer education and capacity-building. In doing so, he hopes to further enhance young people’s knowledge of HIV/AIDS and STDs, further their ability to educate their family and peers about reproductive health, and improve their skills needed to respond to these diseases. Bagnomboé is currently organizing a support, evaluation, and development system for young people who want to encourage parents and institutions to learn with them about HIV/AIDS in families and communities. This has enabled young people to take an active part in the design, implementation, management, and evaluation of programs that directly affect them, thus addressing the HIV/ AIDS problem in a way that is both viable and sustainable. The system Bagnomboé created has the potential to transform the lives of young people by promoting education and healthy behaviors. Because of the sweeping nature of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, his program can be applied to other countries in West and Central Africa and thus has the long-term potential to bring forth a widespread change throughout the region.