UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway calls to action during the Mali Youth Summit on HIV

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UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway calls to action during the Mali Youth Summit on HIV

19 April 2011

UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway addressing young people at the Mali Youth Summit. 16 April 2011. Credit: UNAIDS\AFP H. KOUYATE

UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway travelled to Bamako, Mali to participate in the Youth Summit on HIV, an event convened under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Mali, Amadou Toumani Touré, and co-hosted by UNAIDS.

HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway addressed an audience of more than 150 young leaders at the youth summit. Speaking at a session on transformative social movements, the Crown Princess highlighted the opportunities offered by the social media tools to empower young people in new areas of advocacy.

“Young people must be mobilized to respond to deeply entrenched stigma and discrimination and a growing conservative backlash which threatens their access to sexual and reproductive health services, sexuality education, sexual expression, harm reduction and safety as human rights defenders,” said HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit.

She encouraged young people to learn from different social movements to engage others in the AIDS response. The Crown Princess emphasized that it is the young who are sitting with the solutions and must have the opportunity to be heard. 

Use your networks to create a momentum so that our leaders can't afford not to listen. Make them so powerful that world leaders cannot neglect them

UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway

“My message to you is: When you experience lack of core funding, lack of data on young people, lack of personal rights or lack of access to treatment, use your courage, use your ideas and start your own social movements,” said the Crown Princess. “Use your networks to create a momentum so that our leaders can't afford not to listen. Make them so powerful that world leaders cannot neglect them.”

Joint visit to a neighbourhood clinic

Together with UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit visited a small clinic in one of Bamako's neighbourhoods that provides sexual and reproductive health as well as HIV services free of charge.

In less than 70 square meters, community members have access to information about HIV, training in the use of contraceptives and free HIV testing. The clinic also provides support for people living with HIV as well as HIV treatment.