Healthy Outcomes through Prevention Education (HOPE)

Global Communities launched the Healthy Outcomes through Prevention Education (HOPE) program in March of 2012. This initiative, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), aimed at improving students’ HIV/AIDS knowledge, attitudes, and practices in primary and secondary schools in Nairobi and its environs, with a particular focus on informal urban settlements.

Nairobi is facing a high rate of rural-to-urban migration, putting a strain on infrastructure and social services, especially in informal settlements. Over half of Nairobi’s population lives in information settlements, which are characterized by high poverty, insecurity, poor health outcomes, and low levels of education. This environment has a negative effect on young people, particularly girls, making them vulnerable to HIV infection, sexual and gender-based violence. It is within this context that Global Communities  worked to prevent HIV and promote healthy outcomes among students and their families, ensuring that technical approaches remained flexible to meet the unique and differing needs of Nairobi’s urban areas and its informal settlements.

In  4 years of its implementation, the HOPE program worked with a wide diversity of schools across Nairobi and its environs, including informal and formal primary and secondary schools, and its surrounding communities to carry out peer education activities, train teachers to integrate life skills and HIV prevention education into the classroom, and to encourage greater involvement of parents and community members in school health activities. Activities took place both in school and through extracurricular activities supported by HOPE partners. Simultaneously, the Global Communities team worked with the Ministry of Education to strengthen and roll-out the Ministry’s Sector Policy on HIV/AIDS and build the capacity of the County Education Offices to implement the policy throughout every county in Kenya.

Through a comprehensive prevention education program, HOPE  reached not only students and peers, but also other stakeholders in the school system and the wider community, including head teachers and their staff, members of Parent-Teacher Associations and School Management Boards, parents, families, and church and health staff. This comprehensive approach allowed for a more sustainable impact by expanding knowledge and life skills beyond the school to be reinforced by other influential community stakeholders.