The World AIDS Day Poster Contest dubbed ‘Celebrate Life’ concluded Sunday at the US Embassy in Kacyiru by awarding the best posters in the drawing competition from three respective age groups.
The competition was held as part of the commemoration of the Word AIDS day that was observed in December last year. The competition which received 198 entries from across the country aimed at involving young people in the fight against HIV/AIDS through self-expression.
Speaking at the occasion, the US Ambassador to Rwanda, Stuart Symington, commended the participants for taking their time to participate in the contest.
“For those of you who participated, everyone of you used different colours and different ways to paint the pictures, but all those pieces have a single point to make and that is ‘together we can defeat AIDS,” the Ambassador underscored.
He added that from the paintings, they got messages that had taught them what they can do to fight Aids if all are combined.
Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Health, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the National Commission for the Fight Against Aids (CNLS), Antoine Semukanya, remarked that the paintings send a clearer message than speeches.
“There are many methods of communication aimed at changing behaviours but when the message is sent through pictures, it helps us to get the message using our eyes,” emphasized Semukanya.
He added that messages in pictures help even those who have hearing disabilities to clearly get the message concerning the AIDS scourge.
Joseph Mukiza a student at Ecole d’ Art de Nyundo came first in the 16 -20 age group, Herve Shema Banyangiliki from Lycee de Kigali came first in the 10 – 15 age group and Fatimah Laissa Umutesiwase from Ecole International de Kigali emerged winner in the 5 – 9 age group.
Each of the top three winners in all the three age groups received a certificate signed by the U.S Ambassador recognising their achievement and a backpack full of scholastic and art materials.
According to the Deputy Ambassador Sim Cherly, the winning posters from each age group will be displayed as part of the ‘Celebrate life’ exhibit in Washington DC with others from around the world and first place winners will receive a special certificate from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) which was launched by former US President George W. Bush in 2003 to combat global HIV/AIDS.
Since PEPFAR’s launch in Rwanda in 2004, the US government has provided $394 million to combat this killer disease in Rwanda.