Staying Alive

Alt-text here


Denise, a 20-year-old student from Nairobi, muses about the meaning of love on the Shuga: Love, Sex, Money blog.

Today I’ve been exploring notions of love. After reading rising star Kevin Oyugi’s Shuga Talkback I really got to thinking what it really means.

In a world where so many different schools of thought are held about virtually every issue on the planet, it feels like love remains one of the few things that practically everybody can agree on. I think the diversity comes in our understanding of its meaning which brings me back to; what does it really mean?

What does it mean when my boyfriend claims to love me then turns around and cheats on me? What about the horror stories of abuse by relatives that are supposed to love and protect? The loving yet absent parent? Or the longtime friend that betrays your trust? There are so many whys in my mind right now.

I know many different kinds of love exist and there are even more ways of demonstrating that love. I find myself confused when so much of it comes attached with pain, or shame, or uncertainty… Human beings are severely flawed creatures but just how much real love still exists out there?


What is real love?

Until later…I need to get to class.

HIV/AIDS remains one of the world’s biggest killers, with young people under the age of 24 being the worst-affected demographic. In response, MTV created Staying Alive, the company’s pioneering global HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention initiative. Driven by the belief that young people around the world have the power to change the dynamics of the HIV/AIDS crisis, Staying Alive helps youth stay protected and supports those living with HIV/AIDS. Now in its 14th year, Staying Alive is the world’s largest mass media campaign on HIV/AIDS.

Staying Alive uses a two-pronged approach to spread its prevention messaging out to the widest audience possible: an award-winning, multimedia campaign of on-air programming and digital platforms, plus a grant-giving arm that provides small grants to young people to help fund grassroots projects designed to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Most recently, to mark the 30th year since the first reported case of HIV, the Staying Alive Foundation partnered with a number of organizations to raise funds for grassroots HIV prevention projects. With the Goss-Michael Foundation, Staying Alive hosted MTV RE:DEFINE, a unique exhibition and auction of original works by artists, photographers and sculptors, including Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Gérard Rancinan, Katrin Fridriks and Shepard Fairey that raised $788,000. Staying Alive also engaged in a partnership with Kenneth Cole to redesign the iconic red HIV/AIDS awareness ribbon. This initiative produced PSAs featuring Sarah Jessica Parker, Ke$ha, Cyndi Lauper and Rose McGowan.

Another example of Staying Alive’s global outreach is the 2012 production Shuga: Love, Sex, Money, a 360-degree series that delivers targeted HIV/AIDS messaging to a young Kenyan audience via a hard-hitting drama. In addition to the six-part show, Staying Alive partnered with UNICEF Kenya on Rising Stars, a grassroots mentorship initiative that offered 12 young people in Kenya the chance to work on the Shuga: Love, Sex, Money production campaign.

Since 2009, the Staying Alive Foundation has run eight training workshops for 165 young people from 85 grantee organizations around the world and hosted eight courses for 128 young people. The aim of the training is to equip the grantees with the knowledge and skills required to plan, measure and communicate their work effectively.

Throughout 2010 and 2011, the Staying Alive Foundation gave out 157 new grants, bringing its lifetime total to 346 and nearly $3.5 million available to fight HIV. In 2011, Staying Alive Foundation grantees reached over half a million young people, distributed over 600,000 condoms and more than 100,000 educational materials, and trained 6,000 new peer educators.

Staying Alive Foundation Official site: