Leonard Boniface has used his skills as a journalist to make his voice heard in the fight against HIV/AIDS and promoting MDGs. There are over 1.5 million people living with HIV/AIDS in his homeland of Tanzania. With the numbers of people dying every day, the Tanzanian Government has described the epidemic as a national disaster. Leonard has visited schools, communities and NGOs throughout Tanzania and in many countries worldwide to provide education on HIV/AIDS and MDGs.
Leonard screened a documentary he has made about how the media can join the fight against HIV/AIDS at the International Youth Parliament 2004 in Sydney, Australia, Karlsruhe Germany and within Tanzania communities. He has worked to develop new strategies to help fight the isolation experienced by youths living with HIV/AIDS. He and his fellow IYP Action partners founded the Tanzanian Youth Network (TYN), which is in its first-implementation stages, operating as a youth network and platform for social change in Tanzania. He is a Chairperson of the Tanzanian Youth Network.
Supported by UNICEF Tanzania, he visited 11 Tanzanian regions, providing educational feedback and information on the IYP 2004 through dialogues, meeting with young people, and getting inputs for establishing a Tanzania Youth Parliament (TYP), which changed the name to Tanzanian Youth Network (TYN).The network is already registered by the government as an NGO. Leonard succeeded in using the media for his aims and reported a great awareness of IYP due to huge media coverage, as well as announcement of the trips to the different parts of the country.
In July of 2000, Leonard Boniface founded The Teenage Life Program (TELIP) in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, which focuses on HIV/AIDS, Culture, Millennium Development Goals, and related information (www.teenagelife.4t.com). In 2001, he spoke to the student body of the University of Dar Es Salaam on "Youth Creativity and Talent Promotion," as well as on the situation of HIV/AIDS for Tanzanian youth.
Leonard attended the International Student Week in Tanzania 2002. He collaborated with University of Botswana Student Council and the Red Cross of Botswana’s Youth Unit about his research on HIV/AIDS, staying and working for over two months in Gaborone, Botswana, in 2002. In that same year, he produced a video documentary in Tanzania and Botswana about “The Impact of Mass Media in Combating HIV/AIDS within the Youth in Botswana Compared to Tanzania.”
The documentary debuted in the Tanzanian mass media and was presented at the 2003 World Youth Congress in Morocco, as well as the International Youth Parliament 2004 in Sydney. In 2003, Leonard addressed the Tanzania Parliament through its Tanzania Parliamentary AIDS Coalition (TAPAC) on new strategies for combating HIV/AIDS. He attended the World Youth Congress 2003 in Casablanca, Morocco, as the sole Tanzanian representative, and was selected to assist in writing the post-Congress report (Target 2015). The report was based on United Nations Millennium Development Goals. He was among the three youths selected to represent Tanzania to the International Youth Parliament 2004 in Sydney, Australia.
He has been an Oxfam-International Youth Parliament Action Partner since 2004 (www.iyp.oxfam.org). Also,Leonard attended the Youth Pre-Conference and the International AIDS Conference 2006 in Toronto,Canada and made total four presentation,two in each conference.He got an MTV Medal as part of the MTV 48 Fest Film Award held in Toronto,Canada.
Leonard travels extensively, visiting many regions of Tanzania and contries and speaking at schools, organizations and communities, as well as HIV/AIDS orphanages. At these sites, he teaches HIV/AIDS prevention and disseminates information.
He was selected as Student of the Year in 2002 and 2003 at Dar Es Salaam School of Journalism, because of his work for social change at home and abroad. He attended the International Youth Humanism Conference 2004 in Kampala, Uganda, and conducted a HIV/AIDS Workshop. He is a regular radio presenter on Radio Tumaini's program, “Sisi sote ni Wamisionari,”(All of us are Missionaries) and has been interviewed on the BBC, ABC, DW, Morocco TV, SBS, CBS, TIG and other media houses in Tanzania. He attended the Students for Sustainability International Conference 2004 in Melbourne at University of Latrobe.
Further, he has also attended the Political Strategies for Youth Organization Seminar 2005 in Saarbrucken, Germany, sponsored by Friedrich Nauman Foundation. He was invited to Karlsuhe, Germany, with the organization, World Youth Citizens, to visit various youth organizations and introduce a cooperation plan between Tanzania and Germany.
He uses music to get his messages across, having written two songs: "Millennium Development Goals" and "Heshima" (which is translated as "Respect", and is available on Internet at (http://sweetmother.org/?q=node/161). The songs have been broadcast enough to gain popularity within the country. From September 2005 to February 2006, he was a consultant and research assistant on skin bleaching research in Tanzania with Dr. Kelly Lewis, a lecturer from Emory University in the US.
He attended the ''One World'' Student Days 2005 in Germany as a Guest Speaker, under the invitation of Karlsruhe’s First Mayor, Siegfried Konig. To further his work, Leonard filmed and produced a video documentary on "HIV/AIDS and its Impact on Tanzanian Young People". He was co-organizer for the International Youth Leadership Conference 2006 held in Marangu, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. He attended the Oxfam International Youth Parliament African Regional Workshop 2006 in Lusaka, Zambia, and did a presentation on his work for social change, with special focus on the success of the Tanzanian Youth Network he initiated as the outcome of the International Youth Parliament.
Leonard has also worked to find contacts and free ARV drugs for those who are HIV+. As a journalist, he disseminates news and information on opportunities for young people at the local and international levels, especially regarding social change. He has tried to help youth to "be the change", and to engage effectively in youth efforts to participate in change and development. He was among of the abstract reviewers for the International AIDS Conference 2006 to held in Toronto Canada in August,where he served also at the Media Team and running workshops too as a facilitator. Leonard was a part of MTV 48 Fest co-produced the film called"Legency" which available online at MTV's website at http://www.staying-alive.org/48fest/film/films.jhtml?id=85133115 and he got MTV 48 Fest medal.
Leonard is also a member of the Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS, the international arts and media coalition, ActALIVE--whose members use the arts to address HIV/AIDS and development, TakingITGlobal and IYPF, among other organizations.
You may contact Leonard directly at [email protected] , [email protected]
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