In anticipation of the visit by the Secretary of State Mr. Rex Tillerson, ACWICT was nominated among other partners under the DREAMS partnership initiative to be part of the DREAMS implementing partners would demonstrate the success of the program.
ACWICT implements Vusha Girls Employability Program under Bridge to Employment in Nairobi and Kisumu counties where Young women undergo vocational training skills and eventually being placed in job after three months.
To prepare for the visit, ACWICT and other DREAMS partners participated in 4 planning meetings where roles for each and every partner were agreed. The objective of the joint planning was to bring together all implementing partners to:
- share their experiences on program implementation,
- Identify areas of synergies and partnerships,
- Identify best practices to replicate in respective project intervention
The DREAMS implementing partners that participated in the event were:
- LVCT Health- Dreams Core
- Nilinde- Dreams Core
- Community Media Trust- Dreams IC
- Global Communities- Dreams Core
- Hope World wide- Dreams Core
- Afya jijini- Dreams Core
- ACWICT- Dreams IC
The partners were requested to identify project beneficiaries who were going to meet the guests at different levels. ACWICT nominated a total of 16 girls with two girls being nominated to be part of group discussion with the Chief Guest. While the remaining 14 girls were to present some for the learning’s and trainings received from the program. The Girls were paired per trades of ITE, Plumbing, Hair Dressing & Beauty Therapy, Fashion & Design, Food & Beverage and Electrical Installation.
There were varied innovation and skills sets demonstrated by the project beneficiaries and this saw a keen interest in the project innovation.
To make the day a success, partners agreed to take lead based on the areas on intervention and strength. The following seven tents were set up based on intervention per partner and display of DREAMS
- Safe Space (Afya Jijini)- Sharing of experiences before and after the access to Dreams project
- Entrepreneurship Training & Economic Empowerment (ACWICT and HWW)- Taken through business establishment and savings
- Bridge to employment (ACWICT) – Areas that were shared included: ITE, Plumbing, Hair Dressing & Beauty Therapy, Fashion & Design, Food & Beverage and Electrical Installation.
- SGVB Prevention (Global Communities)- Girls taught on various types of Gender Violence and how to prevent themselves from being victims
- HTS and PREP Services (LVCT Health)- Testing services were available, creation of awareness in methods of transmission, prevention and how to stay positive in case you are infected or affected,
- Psycho-Social support (Nilinde Program)- Counseling services offered to all the Girls
- Media for change (COMET)- Girls and Young women were sensitized on the various channels of media that they can use to access information on HIV and prevention
On the day of the visit the Secretary of State was represented by the US Ambassador to Kenya Robert F. Godec Bob who came to the site (St. John Community Centre-Pumwani) at 9: 30 am and he started his engagement with 12 selected DREAMS girls group discussion. This was a guided engagement to enlighten the success of DREAMS program in changing lives. ACWICT was represented by Stephanies Wangare and Judith Komo who under ICT and Hair Dressing respectively. The two girls are currently working and earning.
The second activity for the day, the Ambassador visited ACWICT’s tent bridge to employment where he was received by the Program Manager Mr. Boniface Onyango who took him through the DREAMS innovation challenge bridge to employment initiative. The Ambassador interacted with the project beneficiaries who shared how their lives have been transformed by the skills acquired from Vusha Girls Program. There were presentations from ICT beneficiaries, Fashion and Design, Hair Dressing, Food and Beverage and Electrical Installation. The Ambassador was impressed with the presentations made by the girls.
The next tent to be visited was Community Media Trust where the Ambassador was taken through a short film produced by the project beneficiaries. The film titled Atieno is a production by the DREAMS girls meant to enhance sensitization on the challenges faced by the girl child in relations to the key drivers of HIV infection. From this tent, the ambassador and his team left.
After the Ambassador Godec left, the team converged for further discussions and speeches from key representatives from the embassy and county government. Mr. Maxwell Max- Senior Policy and External Relations Advisor coordinated the event. Some of the remarks from key speakers include
Tamu Daniel- PEPFAR Country Coordinator
She expressed her appreciation to all the DREAMS implementing partners for their hard work and dedication to make the even a success. She further reiterated that OGAC has keen interest in DREAMS project because results have proven that the approach is working in reduction of HIV infection among AGYW. She said that the US government would continue to support the DREAMS initiative t reach more girls in more counties. Her remarks were generally encouraging partners to continue working hard to achieve HIV free society.
Betty Adera- Chief of Party Global Communities
Being the host for the event, she acknowledged the US government for giving opportunity to the young women to achieve their DREAMS. She appreciated DREAMS partners for working closely with Global Communities to see the event successful. She further expressed optimism that DREAMS will finally achieve its objective.
CEC Health Nairobi City County
He expressed appreciation to all the organizations working in Nairobi County supporting health project within the county. He noted that DREAMS initiative has seen many AGYW gain through various interventions being offered. He expressed his wiliness to provide employment opportunities to those Young Women who have gone through the program. He concluded his remarks by appreciating the US government for continued collaborations and financial support to most health centers in Nairobi
In conclusion, the event ended by the participants receiving various services in designated tents till 1pm. Thereafter, all the participants converged for a close out meeting then lunch.