The Determined Resilient, Empowered, Aids-Free Mentored And Safe (DREAMS) Program: Building Resilience And Determination

dreams1Humana People to People through the support of Project Concern International (PCI) implemented the DREAMS initiative in the Gaborone and Kweneng districts.

The initiative targeted females aged 9-24 to empower them with knowledge on how to live healthy lives, have bright futures and benefit from mentorship, life skills education and HIV and violence prevention. Young girls were organized in groups called ‘Safe Spaces’ that enabled them to meet their peers and discuss issues of their concern and engage their mentors. The young girls were also organized as a community in groups of varying ages, 09-14, 15-19 and 20-24 years.

The project reached those who were still in school through school activities two times a week and through a virtual space for those who were out of school. To build resilience and determination, DREAMS used Life skills+ as a guide for building protective assets for adolescents. The project carried out a number of life skills sessions such as financial literacy that empowers adolescent girls and boys on how to create a budget, and how to spend and save money.

Life skills Facilitators tapped into every opportunity they got in the schools’ timetables to offer the Life Skills+ lessons. Lessons were adopted from United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) comprehensive sexuality education, Aflateen social and financial literacy. The project reached 543 boys and girls in schools with messages on financial literacy.To have an AIDS-free generation, positive parenting and effective parent-child communication about sexuality and sexual risk reduction are important steps in the community.

To break the barrier and taboo around communication with adolescents about sexuality, DREAMS’ utilized Families Matter Program (FMP) to stimulate communication between parents and adolescent. The ultimate goal of FMP was to reduce sexual risk behavior among adolescents, including delayed onset of sexual debut. Through engagement with parents to deliver primary prevention to their children and increasing awareness and protective strategies against child sexual abuse and harmful gender norms, the project also assisted to make the adolescent girls aware of instances that lead to gender based violence in families and relationships.

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