HIV programs have increasingly recognized adolescents as a critical age group. Nonetheless, due to the socio-cultural status they occupy in the patriarchal society, adolescent girls and young women represent the most vulnerable group with respect to HIV incidence, HIV testing coverage, HIV-related mortality, and mother to child transmission (MTCT) of HIV.
Addressing the root causes of AGYW (Adolescent Girls and Young Women) vulnerability and improving their lives more comprehensively requires investing in a multi-sectoral and multi-component package, aimed at enhancing their value in society and their self-esteem, their interaction among Adolescent Girls and Young Women experiences within relationships, opportunities for schooling and employment, and healthy transitions from adolescence to adulthood.
% of all new HIV infections are among adolescents and youth
young and adolescent girls targeted by the program
% of pregnancies happen under the age of 19
% of women living in East Africa do not have the power to say no to sex
What are we doing?
With the target of 15,944 AGYW, Make Me Smile is implementing the USAID4TheChild DREAMS (Determined Resilient Empowered AIDS free Mentored and Safe) project in Kisumu County in a consortium that consist of the partners Moi University College of Health Sciences (MUCHS) through the Academic Model Promoting Access To Health (AMPATH) who are the lead partners and the Kenya Community Development Foundation (KCDF). All the partners have a great wealth of knowledge in management of both Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC) and the Determined Resilient Empowered AIDS free Mentored and Safe (DREAMS) programming.
USAID4TheChild project stands for an integrated model including collaborations, protection, investments, and improvement of the lives of children and adolescents denoted in Kiswahili as;
Tuungane Tulinde Tuwekeze Tuboreshe Afya na Elimu ya Mtoto (4T)
→ Let’s Unite, Protect, Invest and Improve Child Health and Education
The project seeks an integrated and evidence informed prevention package to the Adolescent Girls and Young Women. The goal foresees a reduction of new HIV infections, and an improved prevention and response to violence among adolescents’ girls and young women aged 9-24 years.
Furthermore, the project seeks to address individual, community and structural factors that increase AGYW HIV risk, gender inequality, gender based violence, as well as the limited access to education and economic opportunities for AGYW.