Healthier Lives

Strategic Aim 1

Women and girls in marginalised communities live healthier lives with improved well-being

At African Initiatives we believe that everyone should have access to quality sexual and reproductive health information and services, and should enjoy a life free of violence.

By 2022, we aim to:

Improve access to gender-based violence, HIV and reproductive health services and rights for people living with HIV/AIDS, vulnerable girls and women, including female sex workers and women and girls with a disability. Community sensitisation is a key strategy to reduce stigma and discrimination and change health seeking behaviour. In the context of women and girls with disabilities, access to information will be a key focus area.

Improve quality of gender-based violence, HIV and reproductive health services and rights for vulnerable girls and women. This will be achieved, for example, through building the capacity of health workers with regards to HIV services to key populations, or changing attitudes of police men and women when dealing with victims of gender-based violence.

Improve decision making power for women and girls in relation to well-being and health. Through community awareness we seek to empower women and girls so they can stand up for their own rights in terms of family planning, safe sex and whether or not to have sex. Through our education programmes we are in a unique position to provide health and life skills to girls and boys.

Reduce the incidence of violence experienced by women and girls. We recognise that our programmes need to include violence prevention interventions to change attitudes and norms supportive of violence against women, promote gender equitable behaviours, and economically and socially empower women. In order to give it the focus it deserves, it stands alone as a key outcome under well-being.

Project Impact

Our School HIV and AIDS Intervention project has increased the knowledge of HIV prevention amongst students, teachers, and parents by establishing youth led AIDS-free generation clubs, school information centres, and learning-based participatory monitoring and evaluation sessions that encourage schools to raise awareness about HIV care and treatment. So far, 11,000 children and 3,671 parents have been reached through the project, and been made aware of the importance of contraception and healthy sexual relationships.

“When I was giving HIV/AIDS education, my friends did not want to believe me. After a while, a friend confided in me that she had been tested and was HIV positive. Her family started to discriminate her, and would not even share their meals with her. I visited them and talked to them. At first, they tried to chase me away and told me that what I was saying was nonsense. Slowly, they started to listen to what I had to say. I am still visiting my friend and her family; I am counselling them to help change their attitude and gain a better understanding of HIV/AIDS.”