Empowering Girls through Life Skills
In Bihar, India, PCI is working to improve the well-being and self-reliance of vulnerable adolescent girls. The project—Transformative Action for Rural Adolescent Girls (TARA Girls)—is funded by the Centre for Catalyzing Change and Gap Foundation and prepares girls for the workforce while supporting their health and well-being as they transition into adulthood.
TARA Girls reaches unmarried, adolescent girls aged 14-18 through a gender-responsive life skills training and mentoring program called Personal Advancement & Career Enhancement (P.A.C.E.). The pilot program equips girls with skills to express their opinions with confidence, communicate their rights, identify and work towards their life goals, enter the workforce, lead a healthy life by gaining knowledge about reproductive health and nutrition, and negotiate effectively with their families in order to navigate life’s challenges.
Empowering Girls To Dream
Adolescent girls and young women are still disproportionally affected by HIV. In sub-Saharan Africa, four in five new HIV infections among 10-19-year-olds are among girls.
Accordingly, PCI is helping girls develop into Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe (DREAMS) women in Botswana and previously in Malawi. The DREAMS Initiative seeks to substantially reduce new HIV infections among vulnerable adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) by promoting positive sexual health behaviors, increasing access to sexual and reproductive health services and creating an enabling environment where AGYW can make positive life choices.
Through DREAMS, a global initiative of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), PCI works with caregivers and government providers to create safe spaces for AGYW in schools and communities.
In Botswana, PCI weaves economic empowerment activities, such as savings groups and basic business skills training programs, into our HIV prevention and case management activities to improve young women’s work readiness. We also work with caregivers by offering training that promotes effective parent-child communication about sexuality and sexual risk reduction to support AGYW’s well-being.
In Malawi, PCI implemented Go Girls Clubs for girls both in and out of school. Through the clubs, PCI worked with health providers and trained mentors to provide AGYW with critical health and social services such as gender-based violence response services; family planning and sexual and reproductive health information and services; life skills training, such as career development and goal setting; and linkages to economic strengthening programs. The goal of these girls’ empowerment activities was to encourage the adoption of healthy behaviors among AGYW, reduce HIV rates and instill long-term, positive behavior change.
Across both DREAMS programs, PCI collaborated closely with local stakeholders and government agencies to improve youth-friendly HIV prevention services and increase the coverage and sustainability of services for adolescent girls and young women.