Dar es Salaam. The United State Agency for International Development (Usaid) has reiterated its commitment to finance projects which brings changes to the lives of common people.
This was said in Iringa recently by Usaid mission Director in Tanzanian Andy Karas, during a field visit to assess the implementation of Usaid funded project activities.
Mr Andy, who was accompanied by his deputy, Ms Helen Pataki and other Usaid staff appreciated the regional administration and local authorities initiatives to support the project which the agency is funding.
He noted that such a partnership was paramount to make such projects a success.
He made the remarks after Dr Albert Komba, the Jhpiego Chief of Party, explained how they engage the local authorities and the entire community in a project designed to fight the spread of HIV/Aids in Iringa.
Dr Komba noted that implemented under Sauti Project, the activities are implemented in 14 regions including Iringa. The project targets vulnerable groups including young girls and link them with services like behaviour change communication sessions, economic empowerment groups, screening for gender based violence and counselling on usage of alcohol and drugs.
“We are working to ensure we reduce the spread of HIV/Aids by making adolescence girls and female sex workers as our primary beneficiaries….we have picked these groups because they are vulnerable,” he said.
As part of interventions to reduce HIV/Aids prevalence, the project also has mobilised girls to form voluntary money saving groups for income generating activities and train them on economic empowerment, gender issues and how to protect themselves against high risk behaviours.
In her testimony, one of the beneficiaries, Ms Scholina Charles, 22, a young girl from Umoja groups said before joining the Sauti project, she was living devastating situation and and forced into commerfcial sex so as to make money for her family.
“The situation was bad, I remember I could have sex with a man for giving me only shilling two hundred. But now things have changed. I am empowered with self-awareness on the risk of HIV/Aids, gender violence and through this group I have also managed to raise money and now I am engaged in agricultural activities…. I employ men to work in my farm,” she beamed.
Earlier, the Iringa Regional Administration Secretary, Wamoja Ayubu, thanked the delegation for the support.
“The government has policy and laws which advocates for the inclusion of gender especially youth and women in all activities. I am happy that Usaid is also advocating the same and we promise to collaborate with all partners,” he said.
Sauti is implemented by Jhpiego in partnership with Pact, Engenderhealth and NIMR/ Mwanza with support from the American people through USAID under the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and DREAMS Initiatives.