Saturday, May 21, 2011

USAID Funded Initiative Helping to Better the Lives of Young Mozambique Girls

Communities in Mozambique, like many other areas of Sub-Saharan Africa are fighting to better the lives of their children, who will come to endure the harsh realities of the AIDS/HIV virus, poverty, and lack of education among many others. According to the USAID, young women in Africa have increasingly become victim to the hardships of teen pregnancy, dropping out of school, and prostitution.

The Avante Raparigas! (Go Girls!) initiative is a local program in Mozambique that aims to educate and encourage communities in improving communication with young girls about topics such as risky sexual behavior, peer pressure and, alcohol abuse. All too often young girls are having to endure dangers and difficulties that affect the ability to better their futures. This initiative, funded by the USAID through PEPFAR (The U.S. President's Emergency Plan and AIDS Relief) and implemented by John Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs, uses visuals, brochures, manuals and, training programs to reach local communities.

The Go Girls! program has been increasingly improving outlooks for the future of young girls in local communities. According to the USAID, "...just one year into the program, teen pregnancies in the Mogovolas District of Nampula Province...dropped all the way to zero." Such a great success provides a platform for young girls to continue schooling, improve community relationships and build trust. Participants of the program stated that, they felt a greater sense of safety at school if their teachers were in the program. This has prompted teachers from other communities to begin exploring the possibility of replicating the program across Mozambique.

Without continued foreign assistance funding and funding for the USAID, program successes such as these will be greatly affected, reducing the possibilities for young women to better their lives through continued education. Please continue to support foreign assistance funding by calling your congressional leaders weekly.

-Kelsey Christianson