‘If young people are given the opportunity to engage in meaningful activities, we would have half solved the problem of idle minds’. Pamela Moyo from our School Club in Zimbabwe
Every day in Zimbabwe, 400 people die of AIDS-related diseases, creating a growing population of orphans and vulnerable children who are either raised by relatives or forced to fend for themselves. People with HIV face a near 100% unemployment rate, while orphans and vulnerable children often can’t afford to go to school. An estimated 1.7 million people are facing hunger, and poor nutrition means that anti-retroviral treatment for HIV often fails. There is widespread stigma and discrimination and a lack of access to services for people with HIV. Livelihoods interventions for these groups are often ineffective, uncoordinated and unsustainable.
Restless Development Zimbabwe is launching an innovative new programme supporting the livelihoods of people with HIV, orphans and vulnerable children which is funded by Comic Relief. Building on our successful youth-led HIV prevention work, the initiative enables young people to do more to support treatment and care. In a country where 15% of the population has HIV and 55% of the population is under 24, it enables young people to play the central role that they must play in order to make Zimbabwe’s AIDS response effective.
There are three main phases to the programme:
• Piloting a range of livelihood interventions.
• Capturing learning and evidence of what works
• A structured programme of capacity building, sharing of experiences and learning together, enabling government and civil society to adopt best practice at scale.
Achieving change through collaboration is at the heart of our approach. We work with and through existing structures like AIDS Committees, home-based care providers, teachers, traditional leaders and civil society organisations, to deliver impact at a greater scale than we could achieve alone. People with HIV, orphans and vulnerable children will benefit from increased income, improved nutrition, better adherence to anti-retroviral treatment and a more active role in decision-making processes that affect their lives.
This is a very exciting new project for Restless Development that enables young people to play a leading role in providing livelihood support for some of the poorest and most disadvantaged people in the country.