Foundation for Civic Education and Social Empowerment (Focese), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), has said nobody should be left behind in the fight against HIV and Aids in Balaka District.
Focese executive director Christie Banda said this on Monday when the organisation presented a Pepfar-funded Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) HIV Prevention and Support project to Balaka District Executive Committee.
“Many girls are married young and assume adult roles of motherhood. They grow up without the ability to make decisions about their own health; hence, they cannot reduce their vulnerability to HIV and Aids,” she said.
Banda further said the project will convey information and build skills needed to establish or change girls’ behaviours that put them at risk in Traditional Authority Kalembo in the district.
Balaka civil society orgainsations (CSOs) network chairperson Charles Sinetre said the culture of concealing abuse has exposed girls to HIV.
“We need change in thinking regarding social and cultural norms that perpetuate child marriages,” he said.
Focese focuses on vulnerable young women aged below 30, especially sexual violence victims, teen mothers and wives, female sex workers (FSW), people with disabilities and HIV+ women.
The project is funded to the tune of K15 million by the United States Government.