Integration and Coordination: Education and Economic Support

Basic education provides a forum through which to provide important prevention messages. In addition, schooling has a protective effect in terms of reducing risk behaviors. "Life skills" or "skill-based" programming provides students with the ability to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life. Life skills curricula include not only HIV information, but also age- and culture- appropriate sex education, and negotiation and decision-making skills. For example, through this programming, students learn about the ways in which HIV is transmitted, how to negotiate delay of sexual debut, and reduce their risk for HIV.

In carrying out this work, PEPFAR collaborates with USAID's basic education programs. Through the GHI, PEPFAR is working with countries to help educational programs deliver coordinated prevention messages. It will also train teachers to deliver quality HIV and life skills curricula. Through Partnership Frameworks, PEPFAR will also work with partner governments to ensure that Ministries of Education are involved in government-wide, multisectoral responses to HIV.

PEPFAR recognizes that a lack of economic assets increases vulnerability to infection, particularly for women, girls and OVC. In addition, extreme poverty can interfere with treatment adherence for PLWHA, leading to worse health outcomes. PEPFAR supports efforts to expand economic opportunities to PLWHA, OVC, and populations at risk for infection. These opportunities help them to avoid high-risk behaviors, to seek and receive health care services, and to care for their families. Such efforts include:

  • Economic strengthening interventions that supply, protect, or grow physical, natural, financial, human and social assets, encompassing microfinance, microcredit, vocational training, market development, or income generation;
  • Microfinance projects linked to peer support interventions with PLWHA;
  • Support for family and community gardens that provide food or can be used as a source of income;
  • Programs to ensure that girls are given equal opportunity to attend school; and
  • Vocational training targeted to offer economic alternatives to transactional sex.

In its next phase, PEPFAR is expanding partnerships in these areas, in order to leverage both expertise and funds from these areas to achieve mutual objectives. A particular focus is working to assist orphans and vulnerable children in accessing vocational training or job opportunities, enabling them to support themselves and their families.

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