DREAMS Innovation Challenge (DREAMS IC): Zimbabwe

Reaching pregnant adolescent girls and teen mothers in Zimbabwe with a holistic package of both prevention and response interventions to keep them in school.






2016 - 2018

Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe

In Zimbabwe, many structural drivers, such as poverty, child marriages, and gendered cultural norms lead adolescent girls and young women to early sexual debut (at age 15 on average which opens them up to an increased risk of HIV infection and unplanned pregnancy. Teen pregnancy is a formidable obstacle to girls’ education in the country, with 75,000 girls dropping out of school annually due to pregnancy.

To address these challenges, we work with our local partners to implement the DREAMS Innovation Challenge Program in two high burden districts in Zimbabwe. At the prevention level, we target 300 at-risk adolescent girls and young women with in-school and community-based interventions designed to prevent teen pregnancy. These include community-level dialogues to address harmful cultural norms, building social assets clubs to facilitate retention of girls in school, and an Early Warning System designed to identify and protect adolescents at risk of dropping out of school.

On the response side, we provide alternative education pathways for out-of-school pregnant and teen mothers while community mentors encourage their retention in the program. Through an HIV-sensitive Case Management System, adolescent girls and young women are linked to critically needed wraparound services, including HIV testing and counseling and Internal Savings and Lending clubs to enhance economic resiliency. Early Child Stimulation sessions empower young mothers with practical parenting skills to promote healthy child development.