Voices from Kenya: Economic Empowerment to Prevent HIV

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Economic empowerment is a critical pathway to preventing HIV in adolescent girls and young women (AGYW), and an increasing focus of PEPFAR’s DREAMS program (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe). This episode takes us to western Kenya, where new HIV infections among AGYW are among the highest in the country, fueled by social and economic factors. Janet Fleischman brings us three perspectives about the importance, impact, and challenges of reaching vulnerable young women with economic strengthening activities and why these approaches can improve HIV outcomes. First we speak to Daniel Oluoch-Madiang, the DREAMS coordinator for PATH in Kenya. We then hear from one of the young women participating in DREAMS, Valary Atieno, about how she’s translated the financial support she received from DREAMS into chickens that help her to be independent and avoid risky behaviors. We also hear from one of the DREAMS mentors, Veronica Chesongok Owiti. Their on-the-ground perspectives elevate our understanding about why economic support is so central to HIV prevention for this population.

You can see a photo of Valary with her daughter and her chickens here.
Janet Fleischman
Senior Associate (Non-resident), Global Health Policy Center