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Fostering Community Champions: Giving Adolescent Girls & Young Women Voice & Hope.

Breandah Nahirya, 18, has completed Lugazi Homeland College and waiting to take her Advanced Certificate Exams. Breandah is one of our project beneficiaries and participates in CenRID's outreach activities. She is working as a hospital aide at the Busamuzi Health Center III.

Studies suggest that investment in adolescent girls and women is the most powerful investment a country can make and presents a unique opportunity for these women to create a better life for their families and build a strong community. CenRID’s teen outreach activities, including working as aides in hospitals, witnessing/partaking in HIV counseling sessions, participating in HIV/SRHR performed art festivals (PAF), working as peer mentors, assistants to Village Health Teams (VHTs), etc. are grounded in the helper therapy principle and based on the conviction that reducing the incidence and impact of HIV requires efforts to promote and empower community level champions. They sought to increase the AGYW’s identification with adult prosocial values in the larger community.

Prosocial values of adolescents have been proven to be positively correlated with their social competence and inversely related to most high-risk adolescent problem behaviors, including early sexual debut, teen pregnancies, and truancy, among others. All teen outreach activities were developed in consultation with the health facilities and the parents of the adolescent girls and young women to ensure that they are sensitive to the needs and capacities of the local communities.

Breandah is among the other trained adolescent girls and young women that represent their respective communities to lead local efforts to raise awareness about HIV and GBV, help reframe and reduce HIV misconceptions and stigma respectively, and encourage community members to get tested by linking them with the health facilities, among others.

"Being part of this project has improved my overall knowledge of HIV & has made it easier for me to abstain from sex. I also know my HIV status and helping mothers at the health center by reminding them to bring their children for immunization"

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