As a partner to the government of the Kingdom of eSwatini, we are collaborating to strengthen the national social welfare system, health and education sectors, and scaling sustainable, evidence-driven programming in eSwatini.

The combination of a 37% youth population, 45% of which are orphans or vulnerable, and the world’s highest HIV prevalence at 26%, translates into a precarious health scenario for children, adolescents in particular. We are working closely with the Ministry of Health (MOH), and the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) to deliver programming that decreases risk to HIV and increases resilience, strategically targeting and delivering programming across age bands and gender for optimum health outcomes.


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We have a deep programmatic footprint in the Lubombo region of eSwatini, a rural area faced with endemic poverty, food insecurity, and struggles under a severe drought due to the effects of the year-over-year impacts of climate change. We have worked with all of the communities of Lubombo since 2008 — in schools, in villages, in chief’s kraals, and as an advocate at national levels delivering comprehensive “wrap around” programming for orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) who need support to achieve health, education, economic and nutrition outcomes.

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In eSwatini, only 13% of young people complete secondary school. Adolescent girls who manage to attend school are able to delay marriage and childbearing, are less vulnerable to disease including HIV and AIDS, and acquire information and skills that lead to increased earning power. Evidence shows that each year of secondary education for girls correlates to a 25% increase in wages later in life. Providing girls with an education helps break the cycle of poverty, creating a ripple effect of opportunity that influences generations to come.


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With the highest HIV prevalence rate in the world (27%), the impacts of poverty and the AIDS epidemic has been particularly devastating for children; the government estimates that 45% of Swazi children are orphans and/or living in highly vulnerable conditions. We have worked hand-in-hand with the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) building a National Case Management System to strengthen government oversight and response to children in need of social protection and care.

The National Case Management System (NCMS) brings global best practice Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to the country and helps to operationalize the 2012 Child Welfare and Protection Act. We work with social protection partners and stakeholders across the country to increase coordination for care and management of cases, and strengthen the DSW to deliver the NCMS, providing coaching and mentoring and supporting the rollout of a pilot leveraging community-based volunteers to identify and respond to abuse cases at the community level.

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By The Numbers

1,328 adolescent boys and young men (10-29 years) mobilized, tested for HIV and circumcised through referrals annually through our VMMC program  
10,565 orphans and vulnerable children and their caregivers are reached annually through home visits and benefit from GBV and HIV prevention and adherence programming
79,383 students reached annually with classroom-based Life Skills Education with 3 main themes of health promotion, HIV, and career guidance

Success Story

Happy to be in school

Sakhile Vilakati, age 21, lives in Siphofaneni in the Lubombo region of eSwatini. Since both of her parents passed away nine years ago, she has been living with her guardian, who is unemployed. After taking her Junior Certificate exams and passing only 3 of the 5 required subjects, Sakhile was not eligible to transition to high school, nor did she have the financial means to pay for her school fees. She dropped out of school in 2015 and then had a child in 2017.

When Sakhile’s Community Councilor informed her about the DREAMS Innovation Challenge, she saw the project as an opportunity to fulfill her dream of returning to school.

To learn more about Sakhile’s story, read our blog.


Without education, one’s life is doomed and more girls in the community want to be a part of the project. I am grateful, as this Dreams Innovation Challenge (DREAMS IC) project has fulfilled my dream of continuing with my studies.

Mother with baby