UNAIDS and StarTimes plan to explore collaboration on increasing HIV and AIDS awareness among African youth by use of the mobile online video application – StarTimes App.
Malawi’s First Lady Gertrude Mutharika, UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibé and StarTimes Group Vice President Guo Ziqi held a meeting under the theme “Value of new media in African HIV and AIDS Prevention Campaign” in Beijing recently.
Research shows that new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths are more likely to occur among young people in Africa because HIV and AIDS prevention information and knowledge does not reach young people efficiently.
The UNAIDS executive director says there is urgent need to adress the information gap.
“We have seen progress in most countries today, but the biggest challenge that we face is complacency. The young people, they don’t have information, they don’t have knowledge, so they don’t protect themselves…So, information, knowledge and education, and that’s why StarTimes is very important for us.”
“I just want to say sharing information, bringing knowledge and making sure that we can change young people will be key for ending AIDS.”
Sidibé noted that for most African countries, 70 percent of the population are below the age of 35 and they are not getting information. “Our recent approach will completely change the situation and help us to go for a generation free of AIDS.”
With smartphone use and internet penetration soaring, Africa is set for a communication way revolution. Similarly in Europe, US and China, more and more African young people, get used to watching stream videos on phones.
“Based on this trend, StarTimes launched its video streaming service in the African market with the StarTimes App in June 2018. Within 3 months, StarTimes App has had 8 million downloads and the figure is expected to reach 15 million by the end of this year,” said Guo Ziqi.
Ms Guo noted that the StarTimes App is streaming the “Zero Discrimination” public service announcement (PSAs) as a trial cooperation with UNAIDS through the online video platform.
And, Malawian First Lady and former president of the Organisation of African First Ladies Against AIDS OAFLA), Gertrude Mutharika said: “Malawi has significant and rapid growth in the number of mobile phones and subscribers over the last two decades. The majority of people who buy phone are for using social media communication as well as a source of information. It is for this reason that we revise HIV prevention strategy and seeks to explore social media technology and platforms to reach out to young people.”
“I found that the launch of StarTimes App for HIV prevention is very timely and appropriate. This will greatly enhance our national efforts to reduce HIV infection, particularly on young people. I looking forward to working closely with StarTimes and UNAIDS in Malawi,” she remarked.
During the meeting, Guo introduced the China-Africa Cooperation project, “Access to Satellite TV for 10,000 African Villages”, which would be undertaken by StarTimes, and proposed to explore possible ways to help popularize HIV and AIDS prevention information and knowledge in African rural areas with the platform.
The project of “Access to Satellite TV for 10,000 African Villages” was first announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2015. The Chinese government will aid 10,112 African villages each with two StarTimes Projector TVs, one 32 inch Digital TV set and 20 DTH decoders and satellite dishes.
UNAIDS and StarTimes formally established partnership on 12th May, 2017 when an MOU was signed in Beijing “to reduce the impact of HIV across Africa by disseminating messages to the general public to increase awareness of HIV and UNAIDS’ work and reduce stigma and discrimination of people living with HIV and populations affected by HIV”.
After the establishment of partnership, StarTimes and UNAIDS are boosting their cooperation in different African countries, aiming to mobilizing all available resources to enhance the awareness of HIV and AIDS in the continent.
In the past two years, StarTimes has broadcasted several UNAIDS public service announcements(PSAs) to more than 10 million households with its free to air (FTA) Guide Channel.
Ms Guo said: “With more broadcasting platforms and a bigger and diversified subscriber base and richer content, we will be able to make the best of all our resources to help end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.”
RTSA to enhance prosecution of high risk traffic violations
President Edgar Lungu prioritizes Agriculture as districts countrywide receive fertiliser and seeds, Bwalya Chungu says
NORTHERN Province Minister Hon. Bwalya Chungu has confirmed that his Province has received enough seed and fertilizer to be distributed to farmers in the district.
This follows President Edgar Lungu’s directive to ensure efficient distribution of farming inputs to all districts countrywide.
And Hon. Chungu stated that districts in his Province have already started receiving inputs such as fertilizer and seed.
The Minister who is also Lupososhi Member of Parliament was speaking when he witnessed the fertilizer distribution exercise in his Constituency accompanied by NERIA’s Investments General Manager Mr. Martin Chaikatisha last Saturday.
Hon. Chungu thanked President Lungu for declaring Lupososhi as a district as it has eased the accessibility of inputs by farmers.
The district now has depots where farmers access their inputs, reducing the time they spent way back when they accessed them from Luwingu.
“For many years now we have had to move long distances all the people in Lupososhi Constituency have had to go to Luwingu Boma to collect fertilizers. His Excellency the President Dr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu so it fit to create Lupososhi as a district so that the services such as the distribution of FISP fertilizer may be as close as possible to the people in Lupososhi Constituency, said Hon. Chungu .
He said he was happy that people in the district had started receiving inputs.
“As area member of parliament am very happy that the benefits of the district have started bearing fruits, and the people have started getting the benefits and so we are so very happy.” He added .
He said the countrywide distribution of inputs meant that farmers will have enough time to prepare themselves before the onset of the rains.
“The President launched the distribution and here what it means is that now the farmers will have an opportunity to prepare for the rainy season.” He emphasized.
He said that the early distribution also indicated that government cared for peasant farmers in the country.
“Government of the Patriotic Front cares for the peasant farmer .because we have now started as early as possible. There are lot of challenges in the rainy season, firstly the roads become impassable, and secondly transporters refuse to go to certain areas.” He indicated.
Meanwhile Mr. Chaikatisha who concluded his tour of some districts in the Province to witness how the fertilizer distribution was being conducted expressed happiness that agriculture officers were on the ground receiving farm implements following the Presidential directive.
He said exclusive storage facilities in the district would enhance efficiency and reduce transport costs for farmers.
“We are witnessing what is happening here and what’s great is the fact that even in new districts like Lupososhi, farmers are receiving inputs separate from Luwingu.” Said Mr. Chaikatisha.
Prior to his visit in Lupososhi, Mr. Chaikatisha checked on some depots in Mpulungu where he found farmers collecting their Urea and D compound fertilizer.
The farmers thanked President Lungu for ensuring that they received their inputs despite COVID-19 challenges in the country.
Embrace Digital Learning as Schools Reopen
ZAMTEL has urged school administrators, parents and guardians to embrace digital learning even as learners in non-examination classes return to classes today.
Zamtel Corporate Communications Manager Changwe Kabwe noted that learners should be encouraged not to abandon the use of e-learning platforms they adopted during the period when schools were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr. Kabwe stated that it is critical that school administrators fully integrate some aspects of delivering lessons digitally as part of embracing the New Normal.
He said during the period of school closure, Zamtel observed growing interest from learners to shift to digital learning as an alternative which should not be allowed to die down as classes reopen.
Mr Kabwe said Zamtel launched Smart Revision and the e-Learning portal to help bridge the learning gap created by the school closures and to popularize digital learning.
He said the number of learners interacting with the two platforms on www.smartrevision.co.zm and www.elearning.co.zm since they were launched in April has been encouraging.
“We have seen thousands of learners interacting with the two platforms and we would like that to continue even as these learners return to class today. We should get to a point where digital learning work side by side with conversational modes of delivering education,” Mr Kabwe said.
He announced that Zamtel is working on school based subscription packages which will allow schools to purchase subscriptions for learners.
“We are ready to work with school administrators to ensure that e-Learning is not left by the side as our learners return to class. We need to maintain the gains recorded during the closure period and integrate digital learning into mainstream modes of teaching and learning,” Mr Kabwe said.
Mr Kabwe also announced that Zamtel will soon introduce additional features on its e-learning portal such as online live lessons to be conducted by teachers with approved curriculum by the Ministry of Education.
“What the last few months have shown is that virtual learning is going to be the new Normal and we are excited that these learning tools provided by Zamtel have enabled thousands of learners to access quality education. We are pushing up our efforts to get more schools adopting the use of digital platforms to deliver education services,” Mr Kabwe said.
Zamtel is Zambia’s only total communication solutions provider. Zamtel is 100 percent owned by the Zambian Government through the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), providing voice, data, fixed, internet, MPLS and business continuity services to businesses and individual customers in Zambia. Zamtel is committed to make a difference and empower communities as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility.
This is according to a press statement by Zamtel Corporate Affairs and Government Relations Unit.