Head of UNAIDS meets DREAMS girls
High level visit to US-funded project
15 April 2021 | Social Issues
DREAMS stands for Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored and Safe, and helps empower adolescent girls and young women and protect them from contracting HIV.
Together with US Ambassador Lisa Johnson and the executive director of the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Ben Nangombe, the UNAIDS executive director met with DREAMS girls and community care workers at a youth-friendly pre-fabricated health clinic at Windhoek’s Hakahana clinic.
“I am very impressed by the confidence and optimism these young women express as a result of the support they receive through the DREAMS program,” Ambassador Johnson said.
Among other interventions, the project provides sexual and reproductive health services including family planning; preventing and responding to gender-based violence; economic strengthening including vocational training; and financial literacy.
DREAMS is funded by the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and implemented by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) together with partner organisations and works in close cooperation with several Namibian ministries.
In Namibia, DREAMS started in 2017 and currently supports 36 000 adolescent girls and young women (AGYW), including more than 200 AGYW who have managed to establish their own small businesses through economic strengthening activities.
“Since the beginning of PEPFAR 16 years ago, the US government has invested nearly US$1.6 billion in HIV programming in Namibia. For the coming year, we will increase our annual funding from US$89 million to US$91 million, and this year we doubled our investment in DREAMS to US$20 million,” Ambassador Johnson said.
Thanks to its success and in order to reach more vulnerable adolescent girls and young women, the program’s geographic scope has recently been expanded from five to nine Namibian districts, in five regions.