Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored and Safe (DREAMS) Lives

What is the DREAMS Initiative?
DREAMS, a new initiative of PEPFAR, the Gates Foundation and the Nike Foundation, is helping adolescent girls and young women lead Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored and Safe lives. Global Communities, in partnership with USAID, implements the DREAMS initiative in the Pumwani Ward of Nairobi County in Kenya, which is one of several countries where DREAMS is being implemented.

While Kenya has achieved tremendous success in addressing HIV and AIDS, rising cases of teenage pregnancy and disproportionately high rates of new HIV infections, Sexually Transmitted Infections and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) among adolescent girls and young women indicate the need for a stronger response, particularly since in recent years, most of the new HIV infections in the country are borne by girls ages 15-24.

Cultural norms and economic disadvantages prevent many girls from accessing the education, as well as the health and financial services they need to be and remain healthy. But if adolescent girls and young women are fully empowered and have the capacity to surmount the many challenges they face – in a supportive, enabling environment – then they have the potential to have an AIDS-free future, and to influence their peers and families to do the same.

How Does the DREAMS Initiative Work?
DREAMS is based on the recognition that girls can – and often do –reach their full potential when they have access to multiple interventions, and when they are perceived as capable by themselves and by their relatives, classmates, teachers and other members of their communities.

Over the next two years, Global Communities and its partners will work with 2,500 adolescent girls and young women between 10 and 24 years of age from the Pumwani Ward and the greater community to ensure these girls achieve their DREAMS. The project will emphasize healthy sexual behaviors including abstinence and delayed sexual debut; gender norms; prevention of GBV; life skills; prevention of drug and alcohol abuse; adherence to Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) as applicable; positive attitudes towards people living with HIV; stigma reduction and livelihoods and positive health-seeking behaviors.

Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored and Safe lives (DREAMS) Pumwani

Global Communities will employ a two-pronged approach, blending customized individual support to adolescent girls and young women, as well as strengthening of education, health, social and economic systems. The efforts of DREAMS Pumwani will not only create positive lasting impact on at-risk adolescents and young women but also the greater community. Key approaches including community dialogue, sensitization, outreach, on-site support, mentorship, coaching and training, and other techniques will address the challenges facing adolescent girls and young women in Pumwani Ward. The project will include meaningful involvement and expertise from various stakeholders including teachers, school administrators, caregivers, ward administrators, officials from law enforcement and legal fields, religious leaders, and relevant government departments at national, county and sub-county levels. This comprehensive approach will ensure that participants benefit from all major sectors of their community in a coordinated approach likely to be more successful because of widespread community buy-in.

Partners in the DREAMS Pumwani

St. John Community Center (SJCC)
SJCC was established in 1957 as a Christian community service organization under the Anglican Church of Kenya. SJCC works to improve the lives of residents in the Nairobi slums. It supports community-level interventions through youth skills training, support to orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs), psychosocial and economic support to Persons Living with HIV and their families; HIV prevention through peer education; and providing HIV testing and counseling services.

Kenya Girl Guide Association (KGGA)
KGGA was established in 1922 to provide girls and young women with the opportunity to develop their full potential as responsible citizens of the world. KGGA has worked on HIV and AIDS prevention programs, and operates a center for girls in an informal settlement in Nairobi County to provide marginalized girls with life skills training and leadership development opportunities.