Windhoek – Thirty-two young women have graduated as the first DREAMS Ambassadors in Namibia for the U.S. government-funded DREAMS program.
The DREAMS program supports adolescent girls and young women between 10 and 24 years of age as well as their parents or caregivers and sexual partners to prevent new HIV infections through education in reproductive health, prevention of gender-based violence, and entrepreneurship support.
The DREAMS Ambassadors will mobilize and support participation in the program in their communities in Windhoek, Katima Mulilo, Onandjokwe, Omuthiya, and Tsumeb.
The U.S. Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Jessica Long, presented the graduation certificates at a small ceremony in Windhoek on October 30.
“I am proud to see so many dedicated and motivated young women here today,” said Ms. Long, “and I am confident that this program is yet another important milestone on the way to an AIDS-free generation in Namibia. The DREAMS Ambassadors will strengthen your communities and your country’s physical, social, and economic health.”
DREAMS stands for Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe. The program is funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and supported by Peace Corps.
The DREAMS program is celebrating its three-year anniversary in Namibia. The program has been so successful that annual funding for 2021 was doubled to US$20 million (approx. N$325 million).
The funding increase will allow the program to expand from five to nine districts and to triple the number of girls and young women reached with support packages from 21,000 by the end of the Financial Year 2019 to over 64,000 by September 2021.
The DREAMS program is implemented by Project HOPE Namibia in the Khomas, Oshikoto and Zambezi regions, as well as by ACHIEVE/PACT in the Oshana and Kavango East regions. DREAMS is one of many initiatives of the PEPFAR program to support Namibia to reach epidemic control of HIV/AIDS.