CHIPINGE TIMES REPORTER
MUTARE-Family Aids Caring Trust (FACT), a Non-Governmental Organisation, is conducting a five-year program in Manicaland aimed at assisting youth (10-24) prevent themselves from the risk of contracting HIV infections.
The Determined, Resilient, Empowered, and Aids-free, Mentored and Safe Girls and Women (DREAMS) program is being implemented in Mutare, Chipinge and Makoni.
FACT Acting Director Jennifer Tavengerwei said PEPFAR is funding the project through USAID.
She said this at an inception workshop in Masvingo recently. DREAMS is being rolled out in the province beginning in October 2023.
The program scope encompasses HIV prevention sessions, sponsored educational support and economic strengthening. Parents will also be encouraged to undertake self-sustaining projects to support their families.
Tavengerwei said DREAMS main objective is reducing new HIV infections amongst adolescent girls and young women (AGYW).
“The program will have HIV prevention sessions, education support and economic strengthening .We will be working with young people between the ages of 10-24 years assisting them to prevent contracting HIV infections. We will sponsor their educational needs and we will be working closely with their parents to ensure they are safeguarded. During the implementation of the project, we will also be encouraging parents to do self-sustaining projects so that they are able to support their families,” she said.
Tavengerwei said their implementing partners include the Centre for Sexual Health and HIV Aids Research Zimbabwe (CeSHHAR), the Organisation for Public Health Interventions and Development (OPHID), the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC), and the National AIDS Council (NAC).
Three Masvingo districts Gutu, Zaka and Chivi are the first beneficiaries on a three-year basis. DREAMS will later spread to Chiredzi and Mwenezi districts.
Ministry of Health officials applauded the program.
“The program complements Government efforts to strengthen health services delivery in response to HIV and AIDS prevention. Such interventions contributes towards ending spread of AIDS by 2030.The inclusion of male partners in the intervention is one of the strengths of the program,” said a health official.
NAC Coordinators for Gutu, Zaka and Chivi Districts shared key highlights on AGYW’s health (HIV prevalence), well-being and education challenges.