Kenya

Cash transfers to benefit adolescents and young women in Turkana in the fight against HIV/AIDS

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The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) through funding from the Global Fund and support from the Kenyan government has launched a Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) project in Turkana County that aims to address HIV risk amongst the adolescents and young women aged between 15-24 years.

The project that was launched on 31 May 2017 in Kalokol, Turkana is being spearheaded by KRCS and National AIDS & STI Control Programme (NASCOP) and will benefit 9,000 direct beneficiaries in Turkana Central, South and North.

This is a pilot project that hopes to build new intervention methods of fighting HIV/AIDS. It provides the adolescents and young women access to Reproductive Health (RH) and HIV related services, life skills training and other related interventions. This target group are deemed to be vulnerable and account for almost 1 in 3 infections in the region and acquire HIV 5 – 7 years earlier than their male peers.

“We thank the national and county government for working together to ensure we serve the most vulnerable community members, especially our young ladies,” said Abshiro Halake, Deputy Secretary General – Programmes, KRCS.

“This pilot project will enlighten and empower our adolescents and young women and hopefully prevent HIV,” added Daniel Namojong, area Chief, Kalokol.

The project will run in three phases. The first phase will involve identification of households and beneficiaries through use of various qualitative methods. The second phase will involve direct cash transfers, life skills and routine random household checks. The final phase will be an evaluation of the pilot’s direct and indirect participants.

“We have been working with the Kenya Red Cross Society in various projects including expectant and lactating mothers. I hope this cash transfers to adolescents and young women will be of benefit to our girls and young women,” said H.E. Josphat Nanok, Governor, Turkana County.

The key focus areas will be addressing the risk of HIV infection, sexual and reproductive health outcome, delayed early marriages, reduction in Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s) as well as link to treatment care and support. This is to be achieved through a blend of interventions among them: Dignity kits that will be given quarterly through the entire project time; Monthly cash incentives of Ksh 2,000 per girl to be given after every 2 months; Behavioral interventions; Reproductive health services and routine STI checks; Encouraging HIV Testing Services (HTS) uptake; Anti-Retroviral Therapy for adolescents and young women living with HIV and adherence support; STI screening and treatment; Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) awareness and linkage to Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) and Adolescence Sexual Reproductive Health (ASRH) education through group sessions.

The behavioural interventions will target parents of the girls to enhance communication and dialogue with their children on sexuality through Family Matters, which is an Evidence Based Intervention (EBI), as well implementation of EBI for the youth through Shuga series 1 targeting 18 – 24 years and Healthy Choices targeting 15- 17 years.

“It is our mandate as Kenya Red Cross Society to work with communities and alleviate human suffering. With funds from donors and support from the national and county governments, we will ensure that the most vulnerable community members are supported like we are doing today,” added Abshiro Halake.