Oniipa – As part of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) together with the Namibian Government launched the DREAMS STEM Educational Empowerment Program for 16 schools in the Oshikoto Region at Hans Daniel Namuhuja Secondary School on 05 June 2019.
DREAMS (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, Safe) is a PEPFAR funded program focusing on adolescent girls and young women to reduce their risk of contracting HIV and increase their ability to fulfill their aspirations and dreams. This includes, among others, the provision of sexual reproductive health and gender-based violence education, counseling services, safe spaces, and capacity building in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
“All of you have the ability to navigate the difficulties you face in life, especially during the challenging years of transforming from an adolescent to an adult. DREAMS cannot do it for you, but DREAMS will help you unlock your potential, and make you a more resilient person who can cope with these challenges,” highlighted U.S. Ambassador Lisa Johnson in her speech delivered by USAID Regional Advisor, Olavi Tauya.
The U.S. Government also handed over 3,500 textbooks valued at N$850,000 to the principals of all participating schools and safe spaces in the Oshikoto Region, where more than 8,300
adolescent girls and young women have so far benefited from DREAMS services. Twenty-seven STEM teachers were already trained in Tsumeb District, and the training will now expand to
DREAMS schools in Omuthiya and Onandjokwe.
The program is implemented by USAID through its partner Project Hope together with the Namibian University of Science and Technology (NUST), as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with its partner ITECH. DREAMS is currently run in Windhoek, Katima Mulilo, Tsumeb, Omuthiya, and Onandjokwe.
PEPFAR is the largest commitment ever by a single nation toward an international health initiative – a comprehensive approach to combating HIV/AIDS around the world. PEPFAR employs the most diverse prevention, treatment, and care strategy in the world, with an emphasis on transparency and accountability for results. In Namibia, PEPFAR is led by the U.S. Ambassador, and programmed by an inter-agency team chaired by the PEPFAR Coordinator.