DREAMS Innovations Challenge Zimbabwe

Over a period of three years, Bantwana reached pregnant adolescent girls and teenage mothers in Zimbabwe with a holistic package of prevention and response interventions to keep them in school and reduce their vulnerability to HIV and GBV.






2016 - 2018

In Zimbabwe, many structural drivers, such as poverty, child marriage, and cultural norms, lead adolescent girls and young women to early sexual debut, increasing their risk of acquiring HIV, becoming pregnant, and dropping out of school. To address these challenges, we implemented the DREAMS (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-Free, Mentored, and Safe) Innovation Challenge program in two high HIV- burden districts in Zimbabwe (Gwere and Mazowe). The program combined prevention and response interventions to reduce AGYW vulnerability to HIV and GBV, while supporting school retention and alternative education options for identified at-risk girls.

On the prevention arm, school and community-based interventions included:

  • an innovative early warning system that identified 500 at-risk girls and linked them with tailored support (including counseling and education subsidies) to help retain them in school;
  • social asset building(“Protect our Youth”) clubs that empowered 2,632 girls with life skills and adolescent sexual and reproductive health information; and
  • community dialogues that engaged 19,823 community members to address harmful gender norms that put girls at risk of HIV, GBV, early pregnancy and school drop-out.

Infographic on reducing HIV incidence and risk for AGYWOn the response side, we provided alternative education pathways and mentorship for 396 out-of-school pregnant girls and teenage mothers. Through the National Case Management System, they were linked to critical wraparound services such as HIV testing and counseling and Internal Savings and Lending clubs to enable them to meet their basic needs and provide for their children. Early Childhood Stimulation sessions empowered young mothers with practical parenting skills to promote the healthy development of their babies.