Mozambique: Small program has quick impact on female orphans, vulnerable children, single mothers (February 2006)

With funds provided through the Emergency Plan, the U.S. Embassy in Mozambique is able to support a number of very small-scale initiatives by local organizations working to mitigate the transmission and the effects of HIV/AIDS. In 2005, this Quick Impact Program strengthened the efforts of a dozen partners. One of them, Action for Community Development, works in Dondo in Sofala province, which has the highest HIV prevalence rate in Mozambique. This organization developed a plan to boost the income of orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) and single mothers affected by HIV/AIDS by hiring a dressmaker to train older female orphans and single mothers in dressmaking and other handiwork that has a local market. The training was provided at a Primary School, since about 70% of the children benefiting from the program were students at this school.

When the school introduced a school uniforms requirement for the new academic year in January 2005, the existing income-generating activity for HIV/AIDS-affected girls and women was incorporated into the on-site manufacture of the school uniforms, with additional skills training provided with USG support. USG funds also directly purchased fabric to manufacture the uniforms for 30 OVCs. Participating girls and women now make and sell ribbons, kitchen towels, bread bags, aprons, embroidery, crochet work, and bead work; they also sew seams and buttons for school uniforms. Because the program is located on site at the school, the participating girls and young women feel more integrated in school and the community. The dressmaking schedules were adapted to ensure that the beneficiaries stay in school. "There was a change in my life here at school. I received school supplies [and] food. And I learned how to make embroideries and work with beads. We already bought some fabric in the house and started doing a few embroideries," says Antonia, one participating girl.

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