In cooperation with the Dream Innovation Fund and Unicef, we aim to reduce the number of HIV infections among adolescents in rural Kenya and Tanzania significantly, a goal reachable by the implementation of our unique combined approach.
Despite overall progress in reducing new HIV infections and AIDS related deaths, progress for adolescents (10-19 years) has been uneven in Kenya and Tanzania. The challenges all children, adolescents and young adults face as a normal part of development are greatly complicated by poverty, lack of access to education and health as well as other social services; lack of attention and care by positive role models (including family); inadequate nutrition and hunger and other forms of insecurity, and peer pressures to conform to particular cultural and gender norms.
In order to reach our goal of reducing HIV among young girls and women by 40%, we have received amazing support of the Dream Innovation Fund so that we can roll out our unique combined approach together with our partners Agrics, Tanzania Red Cross Society, OGRA Foundation and a selection of Community Based Organizations (CBOs).
In Siaya, a county in West Kenya, and Kahama, a district in the northern part of Tanzania, ICS-SP and her partners will train and support CBOs in HIV prevention. CBOs are prominent actors in local communities and the ideal spider in the web to help fight HIV. With the right capacity and tools these CBOs can play an important role in effectively and sustainably reducing this terrible virus.
Within this combined approach, strengthening the farming family in both social and financial ways is at the core of the ICS approach. With our method Skilful Parenting, ICS-SP supports parents in raising children and by doing so improves family relations. This benefits the effectiveness of sex education, equality between men and women and results in a reduction of violence against women and children. Agrics, our social enterprise that offers farmers seeds and fertilizer on credit, increases the harvests of poor smallholder farmers significantly, hereby tackling poverty. Poverty and an unbalanced diet are known as risk factors when it comes to contracting HIV and the fast development from HIV to Aids. Tanzania Red Cross Society, our partner in Tanzania, and OGRA Foundation in Kenya are experts on sexual and reproductive health and rights and HIV/Aids. Together we will ensure that by autumn 2018 the number of HIV infections in this area will have been reduced by at least 40%.
The Dream Innovation Fund supports 56 organizations that all work on the reduction of HIV among girls and young women in African countries. Would you like to read more on the Dreams Innovation Challenge? Take a look at www.dreamschallenge.org
Kisumu is one of the other counties in Kenya that carry the greatest burden of HIV/AIDS and the impact of HIV/AIDS on children, adolescents and their families is tremendous. Adolescents constitute approximately 25% of the population in this county, and face multiple deprivation, with one out of 5 children under 18 years having lost one or both parents. Kenya has a Government’s Social Protection program in place called Cash Transfers to Orphans and Vulnerable Children (CT-OVC), which aims to reach and economically support all the deserving orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) at the national, county and sub-county level. However, it has been unable to do so. Furthermore, the CT-OVC only supports children up to 18 years. Those who attain 19 are thus likely to be less able to access services and hence be vulnerable yet again. Evaluations of social protection programmers furthermore indicate that cash alone is not enough. Consequently, there is a need to link these interventions with social services.
By July 2018, in cooperation with Unicef, ICS aims to have strengthened 5,500 families and care-givers through mentorship to ensure the protection and care for orphans and vulnerable children by providing HIV prevention and treatment, and economic and psychosocial support through our agricultural and parenting programs, implemented again with the help of CBOs. By this same time, almost 8.000 vulnerable adolescents 10-19 years will have been reached with comprehensive information and essential services, including education, HIV and health care, health insurance and birth registration.
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