DREAMS programme will strengthen the determination, resilience, and empowerment of adolescent girls – Ambassador
The U.S. Embassy and its partners celebrated the enrollment of the first 2,000 girls into the DREAMS programme at Windhoek’s Immanuel Shifidi Secondary School last week.
The DREAMS project (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-Free, Mentored, and Safe) is funded by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and seeks to reduce new HIV infections among Adolescent Girls & Young Women (AGYW) by empowering them through a tailored array of services and support to stay HIV-free.
Initially, the programme will be implemented in three regions where it will offer a full package of preventative HIV and sexual reproductive health services. These are Khomas (Windhoek district), Oshikoto (Omuthiya, Onandjokwe, and Tsumeb districts), and Zambezi (Katima Mulilo district) Regions.
According to U.S. Ambassador Lisa Johnson the name of the programme is very appropriate, because through it, adolescent girls and young women receive the support they need to be Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe.
“All too often, girls’ dreams are interrupted. Research shows a cycle of HIV infection between older men and younger women. When an HIV positive older man has a relationship with a young woman, he infects her with HIV. She eventually then has a relationship with a young man of her own age, infecting him, too,” she added.
According to Johnson, evidence shows that the DREAMS programme works. In the first 10 African countries that have implemented DREAMS, most districts achieved a 25-40% decline in new HIV diagnoses among adolescent girls and young women, she added.
Johnson said, the DREAMS programme will strengthen the determination, resilience, and empowerment of Namibian adolescent girls and young women. “While it cannot remove all the challenges from their paths, it can give these girls and young women the tools they need to overcome them,” she added.
Caption: Hundreds of school girls attended the DREAMS roll-out event at the Immanuel Shifidi Secondary School in Katutura, Windhoek. Through DREAMS activities, adolescent girls and young women are supported to become Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe.