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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.

What we do

The ACT project involves a number of interventions designed to educate and empower adolescents in Kenya. Some of these include:

The Family Matters Programme, which aims to increase dialogue between caregivers and adolescents by taking them through a five-day session and giving them tools to improve communication. Specifically, we use a CDC-produced manual, Families Matter, throughout the session to guide adolescents and their parents/caregivers through various skills-training and role-play activities to help them feel more comfortable engaging in open and honest conversation around sexual-health based issues.

The Youth Mentorship Programme, which enlists the help of young people (20-25 years of age) in the community and gives them an opportunity to be a mentor for an adolescent (other than their own child). In this role, the young people act as a point of contact for sexual reproductive health information. The goals are two-fold: first, to provide positive and relatable role models for adolescents with whom they can openly discuss sensitive issues; and second, to build a new generation of parents that will discuss these issues for when their own children get older, so that they can foster open communication from the start.

We’ve also seen that this programme can encourage communication between the adolescents and their own parents in the short-term.

“We have seen cases whereby adolescents communicate through the mentors to the parents, like for example we had this adolescent who got pregnant where she was still with her parents but she did not know how to tell her parents that she was pregnant so she went to the youth mentor and told him please go talk to my mother and tell her I’m pregnant, then the youth mentor went to talk to the mother and said that ‘your daughter is pregnant’, then the mother said go tell my daughter I am ok with it, she can come and talk to me. And through that, the youth mentor was able to make that contact between the parent and the adolescent, and that is something we are proud of.”

- Esther Muketo, Family Health Options Kenya (FHOK)

...the youth mentor was able to make that contact between the parent and the adolescent, and that is something we are proud of.

Esther Muketo, Family Health Options Kenya

Micro-financing support administered in partnership with Faulu Kenya (a Micro-Finance Company registered in Kenya), which enables adolescent girls living with or affected by HIV and their guardians to set up income-generating activities. This helps families affected by HIV (including adolescents living with HIV) build their entrepreneurship skills to position them for long-term success, and also provides them with the income they need to afford their medications, school fees and basic living expenses now and into the future. The amount of time given to pay back loans is individualised based on the particular business being run, but even more valuable is that microfinance institutions provide training to each beneficiary and monitor the businesses to help ensure success. The partnership between FHOK – an organisation that provides integrated sexual health, reproductive and HIV services – and Faulu Kenya is a really unique model, and one we’re very proud of.

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