Increasing demand for health services by empowering girls
Girl Effect is proud to be part of DREAMS (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe) – an ambitious partnership spearheaded by the U.S. President’s US-based Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, Gilead Sciences, and Viiv Healthcare. The partnership focuses on reducing HIV infections in adolescent girls and young women across 15 African countries.
DREAMS provides multiple solutions surrounding one problem, combining evidence-based approaches which go beyond the health sector. These strategies address the structural and social drivers that directly and indirectly increase girls’ HIV risk – including poverty, gender inequality, sexual violence, and a lack of education.
Girl Effect’s efforts are focused on Malawi, where the disease disproportionately affects females compared to males. Here, adolescent girls aged 15 to 17 are eight times more likely to be living with HIV than boys the same age.
As part of its commitment to DREAMS, Girl Effect developed Zathu, a Malawian youth brand which engages, educates and inspires young people. Zathu focuses on encouraging friendship between boys and girls, challenges stereotypical gender roles, and tackles issues of gender inequality which leave adolescent girls disproportionately vulnerable to HIV.