Alliance awarded €9.5 million grant to reach 30,000 young HIV+ people

The Alliance has been awarded a €9.5 million grant from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Maputo for a four-year programme in southern Africa, which will reach 30,000 adolescents and young people living with HIV in Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.

Young people living with HIV face complex challenges related to relationships, mental health, HIV treatment, contraceptive choices and stigma. READY+ will give them access to information, safe spaces, integrated HIV/SRHR and psychosocial services, and policy platforms to achieve the change they need to live full and healthy lives.

“We will put young people at the centre of the design and delivery of the programme”, says Divya Bajpai, Director of Programmes at the Alliance. “We have learned through experience [in our recently completed Link Up programme] that meaningful involvement of young people at all stages of the programme is not only possible, but essential to reach our target audiences and to empower young people to become leaders and advocates for their communities.”

Meaningful involvement of young people at all stages of the programme is essential to empower young people to become leaders and advocates for their communities.

HIV is the second largest cause of death of adolescents globally, and the first in Africa. 82% of the 2 million young people living with HIV aged 10-19 live in southern Africa.

Through READY +, 30,000 young people will receive HIV and SRHR education, and 10,000 will be supported by peers for referrals and when accessing services, helping them to make healthier choices. 8,000 young people will access integrated HIV/SRHR and mental health services, which will improve initiation of and retention on ARV treatment. 400 young people will be mentored to become youth leaders, and will participate in local, national, and global advocacy activities to address structural barriers to accessing SRH services.

<p>&copy;&nbsp;Vyona Ooro/International Organization for Migration</p>
<p>Cecilia Kihara, Lead HIV Technical (adolescents and young people) Alliance, Pascalle Grotenhuis, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Mozambique, and Julio Mutemba, country representative Mozambique , REPSSI, at the award event in Maputo.</p>Cecilia Kihara, Lead HIV Technical (adolescents and young people), International HIV/AIDS Alliance, Pascalle Grotenhuis, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Mozambique, and Julio Mutemba, country representative Mozambique, REPSSI, at the award event in Maputo. © Vyona Ooro/International Organization for Migration

“While our targets are ambitious, our aim is to reach deep not wide”, says Bajpai. “We will offer young people a package of multi-layered interventions, and while we won’t reach everyone in the region, READY+ will provide an evidence-based good practice model for governments and civil society to replicate.”

READY+ is led by the Alliance in partnership with AIDS Legal Network, M&C Saatchi World Services, Paediatric AIDS Treatment for Africa, the Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative, and Y+.