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DREAMS Initiatives applauded for Curbing HIV Prevalence of Young Girls in Shinyanga


Young Adolescent Girls at Upendo group in Msalala Shinyanga Region in a joyful mood after a successful  learning sessions on how to make Batik and Soap as part of the DREAMS Interventions to empower them with entrepreneurial skills which aims at raising enough money for potential capital an Initiative which has a goal to reduce new HIV infections amongst.  The DREAMS Initiative in Tanzania is funded by the US Government through PEPFAR and implemented by Jhpiego in Tanzania 

By our correspondent   
TACAIDS has commended the work done by Jhpiego, a non-governmental organization leading the Sauti Project with EngenderHealth, Pact, and NIMR-Mwanza, in leading the fight against HIV in Shinyanga by implementing innovative combination prevention interventions. 
Briefing the media on how they are fighting HIV/AIDS in Shinyanga, the Regional AIDS Coordinators for TACAIDS Mr. Nassibu Rashidi Ngoya says the government through TACAIDS in partnership with non government partners like Jhpiego are working tirelessly to fight this pandemic by targeting key and vulnerable populations such as out-of-school adolescent girls and young women aged 15-24yrs. 
Mr. Ngoya says “The DREAMS Initiative activities under Sauti Project have been astonishing in helping to bring hopes to young girls in Shinyanga as it has specific components that deal with behavior change communication to build risk reduction skills and self-efficacy among them and empower them economically.” Giving the overview of the HIV prevalence, Mr. Ngoya, explained that Shinyanga has a prevalence rate of 7.4% which is higher compared to other surrounding regions, and DREAMS interventions are being rolled out in four councils of Kahama Town, Ushetu, Msalala, and Shinyanga Municipality.
Outlining how the USAID-funded Sauti 
Project’s DREAMS Initiative interventions work, Miss. Esther Majani, the Senior Technical Adviser for Adolescent and Youth Sexual Reproductive Health, says  that everything is aimed at creating determined, resilient, empowered, AIDS-free, mentored and safe young women–objective components which also make up the acronym DREAMS.
“Apart from education on gender and sexual reproductive health, we provided them with economic empowerment training through which they gained entrepreneurial skills and they are now able to form peer groups, contribute and raise enough money for potential capital. Everyone who is given a loan is mentored to ensure that their business is sustainable,” she added.  When in groups, the girls also get access to free, adolescent-friendly and nonjudgmental Voluntary Counselling and Testing services, family planning methods, and screenings for gender-based violence. 
The DREAMS Initiative in Tanzania is funded by the US Government through PEPFAR, which has provided $18 million to support a combination of age-appropriate and evidence-based interventions targeting vulnerable 10-14 year olds who are in-school and 15-24 years old adolescent girls and young women who are out-of-school as part of targeted, innovative and multisectoral efforts to curb new HIV infections.

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