What does it take to improve health for women and girls?

We can improve the health and well-being of women and girls by including sexual and reproductive health and rights advocacy or comprehensive sexuality education in the curriculum of schools So, it has to be primary school, junior high school or senior high school, but we just need to include it in our curriculum

We can improve health and well-being for girls, if we can address it with education And I'm not just talking about education for girls it's about education for everyone Because part of the issue is stigma around HIV, and the best way to combat stigma is making sure that people who are stigmatizing are educated around it, because that is where stigma comes from It's a place of ignorance For girls and women's health, we need safe space for them

We need education, because through education, they understand the importance of nutrition, vaccination, testing, and not being ashamed or have any disease that they can't talk about We have to empower them in the way that they know that their health is their responsibility They are agents of change It really is important that we offer women more options to prevent HIV And what it boils down to, is that we need to give women choice

Because when we give people choice, they have freedom, and they have power And when we give a woman something like oral PrEP, which is completely within her control, then we know she has the power to protect herself So DREAMS just stands for determined, resilient, empowered, aids-free, mentored and safe young women And in order to do that we really realized we had to listen to the lives and address the issues that young women were facing, and then create mentorships Mentorships with adults, mentorships with family, mentorships with the community, but critically, peer-to-peer led mentorships, and I think that's been the real breakthrough in DREAMS is having DREAMS ambassadors that are really leading the work and really providing that glue in their community, and advocating for young women and changing their lives and their health

Mentoring is very, very important to the health of adolescent girls and young women, especially in humanitarian settings When people that design programs engage with the adolescent girls themselves, to ask them what their needs are, and how they want that need met, and lastly why do they need to be mentored

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