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Empowering School Children through the Prevention of HIV and Gender-Based Violence
Research highlights the connection between sexual abuse and a higher risk of HIV, particularly for girls and boys aged 9-14, which has prompted a continued focus on prevention programs for this age group. Efforts are also being made to provide differentiated and decentralized services, with particular attention given to adolescent girls in high HIV burden areas, as well as primary prevention for 9-14-year-old girls and boys regarding sexual violence and HIV. Children and adolescents are also a key focus.
Following this, our Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) Program has taken a step towards HIV prevention in schools by training 71 schoolteachers in basic HIV prevention messages, Gender-Based Violence, and life skills. The training was conducted in February 2023 in two batches, with teachers selected from military secondary schools in the locations where the program provides support.
The training was aimed at equipping the teachers with knowledge and skills to help prevent the vulnerability of their students to HIV and related risks of GBV and Violence Against Children (VAC). The selected teachers, one male and one female, were trained to subsequently pass on this knowledge to their students as preventive measures.
Through this initiative, the OVC Program hopes to reduce the incidence of HIV among orphans and vulnerable children. The program recognizes that schoolteachers play a critical role in shaping the behavior and attitudes of students and hopes to leverage their influence to promote healthy practices among these students.
The program has also been carrying out follow-up visits to some schools where these trained teachers are located to monitor the impact of the training and ensure that the trained teachers are effectively disseminating the knowledge to their students.
The OVC Program remains committed to implementing evidence-based interventions to prevent HIV and improve the well-being of vulnerable children and adolescents.