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Adolescents Count Today, Kenya

A project working to mitigate the impact of HIV for adolescents living with or affected by HIV in Kenya by providing access to micro-credit and income-generating activities.

Lessons

Some key lessons learned thus far include:

Taking a holistic, family-centred approach is key to the issue of disclosure, and to fostering self-confidence among adolescents. We have seen that encouraging dialogue between these groups enhances open communication about sensitive issues, so that each is more willing to disclose important information to the other. We’ve also seen that self-esteem improves when adolescents are comfortable discussing goals, fears, and whatever else is on their mind with their parents.

Engaging key community stakeholders increases and encourages understanding of the project’s goals among the wider community, and helps us achieve them. Another unique aspect of the project is our Project Advice Committee, which is comprised of key stakeholders from the community, including representatives from the Ministry of Health and representatives from the Ministry of Youth, among others. This committee helps us track the progress of the ACT initiative, reviews the work that we are doing and provides advice and support for how we can best achieve our objectives. Having these community gatekeepers be involved, informed and actively engaged is a tremendous asset to the project.

Integrating services provided by seemingly disparate organisations can enhance outcomes for girls and women affected by HIV in ways that would otherwise not be possible. We hope that this model of innovative partnerships between HIV service providers and microfinance institutions will affect change that can benefit young women and girls across the globe.

Key Facts

Project Name: Adolescents Count Today (ACT)

Run by: International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) through our Member Association Family Health Options Kenya (FHOK)

Region: Eldoret, Thika and Nakuru, Kenya

Population: Adolescents ages 10-19 living with or affected by HIV, and their families

Challenges:High/disproportionate HIV rates among adolescent girls; Lack of access to sexual and reproductive health information, support and resources in and out of home; Need for economic support to help provide tangible and sustainable solutions for adolescents (particularly young women and girls and those living with and affected by HIV.)

Activities: Integrated, family-centred education and communication-skills programme; HIV and sexual and reproductive health service delivery for adolescents; Micro-credit and income generating activities – aimed especially at young women and girls; Skills and mentorship training

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