Bantwana Initiative Wins Grant to Help Prevent New HIV Infections and Reduce Youth Vulnerability in Malawi

July 31, 2020, BOSTON: World Education’s Bantwana Initiative will lead a five-year Cooperative Agreement of up to $32.5 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to help change the life trajectories for orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) and highly vulnerable adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in eight districts in Malawi’s Southern region with a high HIV burden.

The Ana Patsogolo “Children First” Activity (APA) will contribute to Malawi’s commitments toward the realization of zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS-related deaths, and zero discrimination especially as they relate to most vulnerable children and adolescent girls and young women. These two overlapping populations live with escalated and intersecting risks for HIV infection, gender-based violence (GBV), and poor sexual and reproductive health (SRH).

“World Education’s Bantwana Initiative is pleased to help USAID and the Government of Malawi to prevent new HIV infections and continue care for OVC and adolescent girls and their caregivers,” commented World Education CEO, Joel Lamstein.

The Bantwana consortium includes the Catholic Diocese of Chikwawa, Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance of Malawi (GAIA/M), Global Hope Mobilization (GLOHOMO), Malawi AIDS Counselling and Resource Organization (MACRO), and Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO).

“We are pleased to partner with such stellar NGOs and FBOs that have been working at the intersection of OVC, positive youth development, and HIV,” commented Bantwana Initiative Executive Director, Gill Garb. “We look forward to working with them to strengthen systems and help them on the Journey to Self-Reliance.”

WEI/Bantwana will work with partners to grow their organizational and technical capacity to implement age-appropriate evidence-based interventions. These strong local partners are well-positioned to carry forward USAID’s investments in Blantyre, Chikwawa, Machinga, Mangochi, and Zomba districts, and extend them to Mulanje, Phalombe and Thyolo through APA.

Bantwana’s approach of reaching children and adolescents living with HIV—especially AGYW who make up 70% of new HIV cases—and surrounding them with integrated social protection supports and health services is critical to helping them not only adhere to treatment but also to thrive into adulthood.
The program will contribute to the achievement of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and UNAIDS 95-95-95 goals.

World Education’s Bantwana Initiative is dedicated to improving the wellbeing of vulnerable children and their caregivers and families affected by HIV and AIDS and poverty. Bantwana has worked in Malawi since 2018, working to improve the ability of both boys and girls to protect themselves from school-related gender-based violence.