- The DREAMS partnership is launching a $385-million USD effort to combat the AIDS crisis among sub-Saharan young women
WHY IT MATTERS
- Instead of simply handing out condoms, the partnership is addressing some of the “root causes” of the epidemic
- An investment in young women could make an immediate and significant impact
- An impact that will be felt for generations
- The project is moving ahead with several education and health-related projects around the region 7,000: the number of young women in Eastern and Southern Africa newly infected with AIDS every week. Whoa.
Imagine that were happening in the developed world. There’d be protests. Riots. Social upheaval on a massive scale. It’d completely change our society.
But because it’s happening in a far-off, impoverished part of the world, the issue isn’t considered quite as urgent.
Enter the DREAMS partnership, an organization doing some powerful, important, world-changing work, helping girls and young women across the region become Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-Free, Mentored, and Safe.
The partnership has started a two-year effort to reduce HIV infection among girls and women by 40%. The effort involves totals $385-million USD, and involves health-care firms such as Johnson & Johnson, charities such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and NGOs such as the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
What’s great about the partnership is how it goes beyond simply handing out a bunch of condoms and antiretrovirals, and saying “good luck.” The organization working hard to get at the “root causes” of vulnerability: helping out families economically, providing educational subsidies to keep girls in school, investing in school-based sex education, and educating both men and women about intimate partner violence. All these things should do more than simply help young women live with disease—it should attack some of the foundations of vulnerability.
Here are FuturePlanet, we see a lot of stuff that could potentially change the world. But it’s rare that we see an impact as dramatic, as immediate, and ultimately as long-lasting as what DREAMS is doing.
It’s not a stretch to say AIDS has changed the course of African society forever. If DREAMS can prevent even a small percentage of AIDS-related deaths in the region, it has had a tremendous impact. These women are literally the future of their countries. And their lives are being cut short, in no small part because of indifference.
One winner is implementing a tool in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania to gather real-time feedback from the young women they support on aspects of their health and well-being. The solution is enabling programmers to quickly determine what is working, where, and why, and, in turn, allow for agile changes to implementation activities for improved results.
Another winner is deploying a multi-channel HIV/AIDS surveillance platform in Tanzania that uses mobile technologies and GIS mapping to provide a centralized location for two-way interactive communication and crowdsourcing data from DREAMS districts. This platform assists the Ministry of Health in monitoring and reacting to information in real-time to inform the mobilization of HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment resources.
Think about how much better the planet would be if these lives—and every possibility that goes along with them—were extended.