HER Voice Fund To Help Reduce HIV Incidence In Young Girls and Women In Zimbabwe

THE HER Voice Fund, a grant that has been set aside to support meaningful community engagements and leadership of adolescent girls and young women (AGYW), is set to help reduce new HIV infections in AGYWs through amplifying the voices and priorities of AGYW in order to inform the decisions that affect their lives.

By Michael Gwarisa

In an interview with HealthTimes on the sidelines of the HER Voice Inception meeting in Zimbabwe, HER Voice Fund Ambassador, Tambudzai Magwenzi said the grants have been warded to at least six organizations to implement activities that amplify the voices of adolescents and girls towards ending HIV.

The have seen organizations providing reports of the activities that they have implemented so far and it is a great milestone to the success of HER Voice organization in Zimbabwe. Six organizations have been awarded these grants here in Zimbabwe and 13 countries have received this grant with six originations in each country receiving the grants,” said Magwenzi.

She added that the grant was targeting adolescent girls and young women who are also high-risk groups when to comes to HIV infections.

“We know that these populations are at risk of contracting the HIV virus and we want to ensure that we end HIV looking at this target population and lessening the infections rate in adolescents and girls. This fund is there to have the voices of young women sharing their lived experiences when it comes to HIV especially with the ones who are living with the virus.

“Young people are at risk of contracting HIV and AIDS. The infections are high in young people and when we are comparing between males and females, we see that infections are high in young girls and women more than boys and young men. When we looked at that, we then said why not have young people talk about what’s going in their lives. That’s when we came up with the HER Voice fund so that we could hear their voice.”

In Zimbabwe, the HER Voice Fund is supporting six community-based organisations namely, YES Trust, ROOTS, Youth Engage, Hope for Adolescent and Youth, RNCYPT and Africaid. The HER Fund It offers small grants to organizations in 13 priority countries, including Zimbabwe, where Global Fund is investing to contribute to the reduction of HIV incidence among AGYW.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Young Positives (ZY+) Program Officer and HER Voice Fund Country Lead, Gladys Gumbo said the Her Voice Find would empower the young women and girls through improving access to health services under young people friendly environments.

“As the ZY+, we got the grant as the country lead, most of our work is in grant coordination, finding out the problems that they are facing when implanting projects. Most of our activities are on monitoring and also provide solutions on bow they can mitigate and overcome the challenges

.

“This grant is going to improve access to services through empowerment programs where the young people will be engaging in training sessions, through creation of mobile clinics and one stop shops where they can get all the services. They can access services without fear of being discriminated against in the mobile clinics,” said Gumbo.

Some of the objectives of The Her Voice Fund include supporting the meaningful engagement of adolescent girls and young women in relevant Global Fund and other national, provincial and district level processes in order to contribute more directly to the decisions that affect their lives. The Fund also seeks amplify the voices and priorities of AGYW to make sure that their issues are considered during decision making.

The fund has four streams which include gathering information and stories for AGYW advocacy, training and mentoring for policy and advocacy work, AGYW engagement in policy and advocacy and monitoring and accountability.

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