ZimPAAC took part in the 2023 63rd edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fare which was launched pre-Independence and adopted the current name in 1980. The ZimPAAC consortium was fully represented by officers and community cadres from three organizations namely Zim-TTECH, PZAT, and Bantwana Zimbabwe. More than 100 dignitaries visited the stand and more than 300 visitors including beneficiaries of the project. People visited the ZimPAAC stand, of interest was the economic strengthening table which had home-made materials from the beneficiaries and live testimonies done by the beneficiaries of the project on the stand.
The consortium was showcasing the DREAMS primary and secondary packages. Community cadres. Community cadres were well-versed in the program’s thematic areas and explained the objectives of the program and shared success stories. Officers were supporting the team with an in-depth explanation of all the packages and protocols for the project. Profiles, pictures samples, and tools were used to explain the DREAMS continuum for a better understanding of all the interventions. DREAMS district mentor (Tsholotsho) had an opportunity to explain the entry points in DREAMS, as well as the primary package and No Means No intervention for the 10-14 in-school beneficiaries to U. S Embassy Zimbabwe Charge d’Affaires.
Engaging men as sex partners of AGYW is of importance in the DREAMS program. During the ZITF exhibition men who visited the ZimPAAC stand had an opportunity to appreciate the DREAMS program and the great work being done in Mat-North. Distribution of condoms was done, and the PrEP champion present was able to illustrate how she creates demand for PrEP in communities and strengthens the linkages and uptake of PrEP services as well as how she works with DREAMS Ambassadors to track AGYW who will have defaulted.
The DREAMS Program Nurse played a pivotal role during the ZITF exhibition. 50 HIV self-test kits were distributed. Condom promotion and distribution were done. Demonstration of how menstrual cups are used was done to visitors who showed interest, AGYW who visited the stand were interested in the menstrual cup, 10 menstrual cups were distributed.
- Meet Sitheni Ncube, our DREAMS district mentor from the Tsholotsho district. She has been mentoring girls for a year. Her dream growing up has always been to work with girls in disadvantaged communities. She has experience in counselling acquired during her nurse aid training and working with an average of 1000 girls since 2021 to date. Her dedication and passion for her work are shown through interaction with visitors and girls at ZITF. She demonstrates the importance of mentoring girls to attain a Determined, Resilient, Empowered AIDS-free, Mentored and Safe girl.
- Through innovations and regular feedback, DREAMS scaled up on mentorship in 2022, by recruiting DREAMS district mentors for each district being supported. Their role is to ensure AGYW understands the DREAMS primary package, creating demand for clinical services and linking AGYW to skills training with the aim of stirring AGYW towards employment and entrepreneurship. DREAMS Mentors are therefore actively involved in safe spaces, collaborating with community-based cadres to ensure the reduction of HIV-related risks. Furthermore, the DREAMS Mentors support AGYW and community-based mentors as well as other officers to venture into educational pathways to realize their full potential and make aspirations come true.
- # ZITF 2023: Pre-exposure prophylaxis or “PrEP” is the use of an antiretroviral medication by HIV-negative people to reduce the risk of HIV acquisition. People at substantial risk of HIV infection should be offered PrEP as an additional prevention choice. Oral PrEP is highly effective at preventing HIV when used as directed.
- PrEP champions among other community health cadres are strengthening the linkage and uptake of PrEP services and tracking among AGYW in their catchment areas. Mobilise AGYW for HIV combination prevention interventions through social interaction and snowballing. Meet Lubelihle Mkandla PrEP Champion from Nkayi in Mat North
- #ZITF 2023. DREAMS is an HIV prevention program that aims to contribute to the reduction of HIV incidences amongst AGYW utilizing a multi-sectoral approach. Clinical service provision is a critical element of the DREAMS core package as it empowers AGYW to reduce biomedical-related risks. Meet Nothando, a youth-friendly DREAMS Clinical Nurse who provides Clinical services in Tsholotsho, she has been actively providing services at the ZITF to AGYW and males in efforts to normalize access to Clinical services within communities. Thumbs up to the ZimPAAC 20 nurses who provide person-centred clinical services.