By Sandrine M.
HER Voice Fund Strategy aimed at supporting Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) in shaping the HIV response in the country has been launched.
The official launch took place on Thursday December 9 in Yaounde at the CBC Resource centre, Mvan. This project is expected to run from 2022 to 2025.
The country Lead for CAGEAD, Her Voice Fund, Clotilda Andiensa, explains the purpose of the project.
CAGEAD country lead for Her Voice Fund
“The objective is to bring together adolescent girls and policy makers to have a frank exchange, talking about the need and the reasons why they think they should be in platforms where decisions that are made concerning the prevention and treatment of HIV as far as they are concerned are made. It is also for the policy makers to give reasons if they are as to why they so not believe that adolescent girls and young women should be in such platforms.”
She furthered on the organisation’s vision for the program.
“We expect to establish a national forum where we will continously have adolescent girls and policy makers have frank discussions in relation to addressing HIV amongst adolescent girls and young women.”
During the launch, the girls and young women had the opportunity to have direct exchanges with some policy makers who were part of the program. Amongst whom were representatives from MINSANTE, CCM, UNWomen, amongst other organisations.
Wiysanyuy Sylvie is an HIV ambassador at Hope for Volnurable Children Association, HOVUCA and she told Insight244 how beneficial the program is to her, while encouraging young girls to go for HIV screening.
“This program has been beneficial to me because it has helped me interact direct with policy makers and make the voices of adolescent girls heard directly. We were able to interact and and bring out solutions to the different problems we as adolescent girls face in the society. I will like to urge my fellow sisters in the community to go to the hospital for testing so they can know their HIV status. This will help them follow up their situations in case they are infected.”
Another participant during the launch was a sexual and reproductive health rights advocate, at COMAGEN, Ngwengu Sharon, who thinks should HIV and AIDS be properly taught in schools, the prevalence rate amongst young girls and women will drop.
“We need teachers to teach about HIV and AIDS, how it can be contracted and avoided and why it is prevalent amongst us as it is the age group mostly affected.”
Sharon added that poverty contributes to the high rates of HIV contraction amongst young girls while stating that vocational trainings be encouraged.
“We are also looking at the fact that poverty really promotes this as there are lots of young girls who go out there and have sex with random men just to have 600FCFA to afford pad. If we can promote Vocational training amongst these young people to promote life skills that can be used to sustain themselves.”
The HER Voice Fund is not just expected to make the voices of AGYM heard but also ensure that the rate of HIV contamination amongst these groups drops dramatically.