GAIA and Sentebale Announce Program to Prevent HIV Infections Among Girls
Today is International Day of the Girl, and in celebration, GAIA is thrilled to announce a partnership with Sentebale, a charity founded by The Duke of Sussex and Prince Seeiso, and our joint program, Mawa Girls, which aims to support girls to stay in secondary school and equip them with HIV prevention and sexual and reproductive health messages, as well as a vision for a healthy future. (Mawa means “tomorrow” in Chichewa, Malawi’s local language.) The program includes clubs and camps for girls, led by trained Mawa Mentors who are female school teachers and community volunteers.
Adolescent girls and young women are at the highest risk of new HIV infections globally; within Malawi villages where GAIA works, girls ages 15-19 are four times as likely as male peers to test HIV-positive. Keeping girls in school is a proven protective factor against HIV. Compared with girls who have at least six years of schooling, girls with no education are twice as likely to acquire HIV (UNAIDS 2014). However, in rural, remote Mulanje District, Malawi where GAIA works, only 3.5% of women have completed secondary school. Mawa Girls was created to help girls stay in school, stay healthy and think about goals for their futures.
We are very excited for this partnership and, as always, thank you for your support.
Todd Schafer Executive Director