There are approximately 36.7 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS. Of those, 2.1 million are children. For many children, this is a barrier to a healthy, happy life. And, as Plan is determined to see a world where children realize their rights, we have set out to make a difference. In countries around the world, we have worked to improve the health of children for many decades. Currently, we are on the front lines working to fight against HIV/AIDS in multiple countries.
Here are just a few ways we’re making a difference:
In Kenya, we work with specially-trained mothers to provide vital support and education.
Under the “Mentor Mother” model, women living with HIV with recent experience preventing transmission to children are recruited, trained, and employed to work as “Mentor Mothers” within their communities. Under the standard model, each Mentor Mother is based at a health facility, where she works alongside doctors and nurses at the maternal child health clinic and at the comprehensive care center. They provide health education related to key, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child health, and HIV services, and they support clients to navigate the health care system in order to access needed services.
Plan International USA’s Nilinde project expands the model to include Community Mentor Mothers who work in the communities to support case management for HIV-positive project beneficiaries—orphans and vulnerable children, as well as their caregivers. Like their facility-based counterparts, the Community Mentor Mothers undergo training to build their knowledge and capacity to carry out their responsibilities.
We also work with the government in Kenya.
The Nilinde project aims to increase access to health and social services and support government efforts at strengthening child welfare and protection systems.
One such example is the use of data. The project works with Kenyan government agencies to strengthen the national monitoring and management information system for orphan and vulnerable children and integrates information and communications technologies and social and behavior change communication across project interventions. At the same time, the project works with governmental and non-governmental partners to use data for decision-making and improve quality services.
In Zimbabwe, we work side-by-side with communities.
Through the HIV Care and Treatment project, Plan strengthens community-level connections for people living with HIV to ensure linkage to—and retention in—care and treatment through the support of Plan Community Program Facilitators. Through this program, Plan mobilizes and helps educate communities.
We work to educate young people.
In Malawi, Plan works on the One Community project to support orphans and vulnerable children, early childhood development, and services for adolescents living with HIV/AIDS, including youth economic empowerment activities. Plan also works on PEPFAR’s initiative, DREAMS, which addresses positive sexual health behaviors, increases access to sexual and reproductive health services, and creates an enabling environment for adolescent girls and young women by supporting caregivers, addressing harmful community norms and practices, and creating safe spaces in schools and in communities.