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School & Program Updates

School & Program Updates

Columbia: ICAP Empowers Young Women Through Access to HIV Testing and Peer Support

ICAP at Columbia University, a global health center based at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, implements the DREAMS (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-Free, Mentored, and Safe) initiative as part of its work to reach key and vulnerable populations in Tanzania, including adolescent girls and young women.

The DREAMS package of services includes human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) awareness and testing, peer support through DREAMS groups, and the “WORTH+” training program, which encompasses personal development, savings and loans, and establishing a business — one more way of empowering young women by addressing the structural and social drivers that increase girls’ HIV risk, including poverty, gender inequality, sexual violence and a lack of education.

Since October 2018, with funding from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ICAP’s DREAMS project has been active in Muleba District Council in the western Tanzanian region of Kagera.

In total, with the strong support of local government authorities in Kagera Region, ICAP has engaged 68 DREAMS Community Outreach Volunteers, who in turn have successfully recruited 6,170 DREAMS members aged 15 to 24 years.

Even more, DREAMS groups have collectively saved 16,829,550 Tanzanian shillings (approximately $7,263), opening up new avenues for economic empowerment and independence for young women across the district.

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