HIV/AIDS & Gender Equity Programs

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AIDS continues to affect every person in Lesotho. Gender equity is central to addressing these issues. All Help Lesotho programming incorporates education about HIV/AIDS and gender equity education as well as coping strategies for the surviving population. Help Lesotho educates thousands of girls and boys annually to address stigmatization, stereotypes, health-related issues and social change to empower youth. In partnership with local organizations, Help Lesotho provides testing in a supportive environment. Youth participate in gender conferences, and speech and drama competitions about the changing gender roles in Lesotho. Click here to learn more about HIV/AIDS in Lesotho.

HIV/AIDS & Gender Programs Include:

Anti-AIDS Clubs: Help Lesotho’s partner schools host student Anti-AIDS club. These clubs meet regularly to generate discussion, plan activities and to strategize how to share what they have learned with other members of the community. Multi-school competitions promote education and creative ways to spreading the word about HIV/AIDS.

Basotho Girls’ Leadership Corps (BGLC): Help Lesotho has both a residential and a village-based program to build young women aged 12-17 as agents of change. Following a selection process, the girls participate in weekly educational sessions related to abuse, self-esteem, teenage pregnancy, health, leadership, healthy relationships and more. The residential program participants attend school at a local high school, volunteer in their communities and share what they learn with their peers.

Gender Conferences (male & female): Separate groups of thirty young men and young women are selected for three-day gender conferences. Each group participates in two conferences a year to reinforce learning and allow processing of the information. Conferences provide a safe environment for boys and girls to learn, share, and discuss key issues such as health, HIV/AIDS, gender-related topics, sexual violence and emotional coping strategies for living healthy lives. Most of these youth have few supports in life and the conferences address their grief and loss, isolation and feelings of hopelessness. Each conference ends with plans to share knowledge with peers and opportunities to test for HIV. These are life-changing experiences and a wonderful preparation for adulthood and social responsibility.

One-day activities: Help Lesotho hosts numerous one-day events for children, youth, adults and grandmothers, ranging from sports days to AIDS testing opportunities.

Young Women’s Conference-December 2010