DREAMS Project (Gweru District)
Adolescent girls are among the most economically vulnerable groups—significantly more so than adult women, men, or adolescent boys. Across all socioeconomic groups, women live worldwide under the constant threat of gender based violence: physical, sexual, psychological and emotional abuse.
Youth Advocates delivers an innovative and impact proven integrated health and economic strengthening program reaching 540 community based approaches (210 young women have been selected and matched to SMEs mentors linked to their field of interest for mentorship and coaching whilst the remaining 330 girls are currently undergoing ISALs and Adolescent girls empowerment program whilst also being referred for other DREAMS interventions.
We will build upon our strong community partnerships work with all stakeholders in a girl’s life –government, families, schools, churches, traditional leadership, boys and men and the girls themselves, to create a multi-layered, holistic and sustainable project that empowers 540 young women, their families and the community at large.
From outset, YAZ has engaged National AIDS Council and Ministry of Gender and Women Affairs, SMEs in hot spot mapping and designing this concept to ensure girls in vulnerable households are identified to benefit from the project. We also build upon our UNICEF funded Young People We Care Clubs and Gender and Entrepreneurship Programme to strengthen Girls Mentorship clubs and multi stakeholder engagement through Ward based leadership structures including Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community development’s officers, churches and schools, churches and business community.
Our partnerships agreements with the local government, NAC, churches, business and community based groups including stakeholders clearly highlight roles and responsibilities with specific targets to provide a comprehensive empowerment package that includes internship, entrepreneurship mentoring, life and employability skills development, vocational skills trainings, financial literacy, linkages to HIV and AIDS testing, sexual and reproductive health education, and protection services from gender based violence.
Central to the counseling and referral is the Youth Helpline Call Centre that provides on telephone, bulk sms counseling and referral to service providers in the community. One objective of activities address Adolescent Girls and Young Women vulnerabilities to HIV through integration or re-integration into a community and achieve sustainable impacts that continually improve the beneficiaries’ quality of and outlook on life. Thus economic strengthening programs are far more effective when they leverage resources, capacity, and opportunities provided by other institutions that are likely to be a part of the beneficiary’s life for longer. At the same time, YAZ will support these institutions’ capacity to provide opportunities for beneficiaries in the future. Strategic partnerships will be made with other partners, communities businesses, council, the government and the private sector.