Achieving Equity and Resilience: Voices of Adolescent Girls and Young Women in Africa

February 28th, 2023 | Event

An International Women’s Day Webinar

On International Women’s Day this year, young women from Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe shared their experiences participating in JSI and World Education programs with support from USAID. They discussed the challenges they have overcome, their plans for the future, and what they think African women need to achieve equity in their personal and professional lives.

The young women emphasized the importance of listening to what young women say they need and involving them in program design, increasing women’s representation in leadership, engaging men in discussions on equity, challenging gender roles, and focusing on inclusive education and economic opportunities.

Watch the webinar here.

About the Participants

Tijuana James, USAID Senior Youth Advisor for Prevention and HIV Clinical Services. Ms. James is an expert in adolescent and young adult sexual and reproductive health and HIV prevention. She has more than 25 years of experience serving youth, families, and communities in the U.S. and sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean. She works to advance the provision of mental health and psychosocial support services for youth and other DREAMS-related work and is the senior youth advisor for HIV and clinical services in the Youth Branch of the Office of HIV and AIDS at USAID.

Hilda Apio, DREAMS Ambassador, USAID RHITES-N Lango, Uganda. Ms. Apio is a DREAMS ambassador for adolescent girls and young women in Oyam District, Lango sub-region of Northern Uganda. Since joining the DREAMS program in 2018, she has led the DREAMS community implementation in Ocampar village and guides her peers in financial literacy and data entry. She is passionate about the provision of youth-friendly services, family planning, HIV screening and testing, and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), while championing the prevention and response to gender-based violence.

Lucy Musonda, PrEP Champion, USAID DISCOVER-Health, Zambia. Ms. Musonda became involved with the Zambia Ending AIDS campaign in 2019 while still in college and was eventually trained as a peer educator by the USAID DISCOVER-Health project in Kitwe. Upon graduating from college, she became a PrEP mentor, helping her peers be safe and healthy.

Charmaine Blessing Ncube, Siyakha Girls Model Graduate, World Education Zimbabwe. Ms. Ncube works as a motor spare parts retailer at Nevern Parts Unlimited. She was part of the graduating class of the Siyakha Girls pilot program, where she initially joined the motor mechanics class. The program is designed to strengthen the economic resilience of adolescent girls and young women through financial literacy and savings groups, vocational training, and mentored internship. Ms. Ncube looks forward to becoming a fully certified motor mechanic.

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