I will always be with the DREAMS project and Cecily’s fund in my heart even after the project ends. I will remember you for the rest of my life when I look at my successful daughter that you helped me educate and the flourishing businesses you helped me establish and grow.
In Zambia, for a child to educated beyond grade 8 requires the payment of costly school fees. That's why Cecily's Fund is committed to expanding the incomes of Zambian families - so that they can afford to secure for their children the better life that education can make possible.
Felistus lives near Chingola, with her husband and children. Like over half of Zambians, the family's income is based on agriculture. Her village has ideal conditions for growing maize, and Felistus believed that by working hard she could provide education and a better life for her daughter, Linda. However, it proved difficult to secure the finance needed to grow the farm business. It seemed that Linda might end up marrying early, like other girls in the village.
A new chance came when Linda was chosen to be supported by Cecily's Fund through our DREAMS Innovation Challenge project. She is one of 900 girls in the Chingola area being kept in school with our help. In addition to providing school fees, the project has also transformed the future of Felistus' business. By joining the GROW savings group set up by the project, she has borrowed the money she needs for improvements to her farm - finance she would not have been able to access before.
Felistus has also received financial literacy training, helping her to plan effectively for the future. She has even been elected Chair of a second savings group.
Now, Felistus and the other villagers have a clear vision for the future. By working in solidarity through the savings groups, they can grow their businesses and incomes so that their children can be educated and look forward to a brighter future. In this way, a targeted and sustainable investment of funds through the DREAMS project has begun to transform Felistus’ community.
The DREAMS Innovations Challenge is an $85 million HIV prevention initiative led by PEPFAR, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV (a Johnson & Johnson company), and ViiV Healthcare. The initiative aims to accelerate progress toward achieving a 40 percent reduction in new HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women in the highest-burden areas of 10 sub-Saharan African countries.
Witney, February 27, 2017
Cecily's Fund Receives DREAMS Innovation Challenge Grant
Aims to Keep Zambian Girls in School and Reduce HIV Infection
Oxfordshire charity Cecily’s Fund is proud to be named as one of 55 recipients of a DREAMS Innovation Challenge grant that will support adolescent girls and young women to become Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe. Cecily’s Fund is one of just two U.K. recipients, out of over 800 applicants, to be awarded a DREAMS Innovation Challenge grant, which will be utilized to enhance access and retention in secondary school for girls and young women in Zambia. JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. is the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) funds manager for this award.
The DREAMS Innovations Challenge is an $85 million HIV prevention initiative led by PEPFAR, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV (a Johnson & Johnson company), and ViiV Healthcare. The initiative aims to accelerate progress toward achieving a 40 percent reduction in new HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women in the highest-burden areas of 10 sub-Saharan African countries by the end of 2017.
Through this grant, Cecily’s Fund will enhance its work in the city of Chingola, Zambia, where pregnancy can account for as much as 90 percent of girls’ drop-out rate in certain schools. Cecily’s Fund will work to help 900 girls stay in school, reduce their vulnerability to HIV and early pregnancy, and help them fulfil their true potential. Together with Zambian partner organisations, Cecily's Fund will strive to remove the barriers to education, increase family understanding of the value of education, empower mothers and girls to have control over their lives, enhance knowledge of HIV avoidance and tackle poverty.
Over the last two decades, Cecily's Fund has enabled thousands of orphaned and vulnerable children in Zambia to attend school. This DREAMS Innovation Challenge grant, which coincides with the 20th anniversary of the founding of Cecily's Fund, is a major achievement for a U.K. non-governmental organisation (NGO), one that will provide the charity with an exciting opportunity to have its biggest impact yet.
Notes to Editors
- Cecily’s Fund is U.K. registered charity #1071660, based in Witney, Oxfordshire and founded in 1997
- Further information on Cecily’s Fund programmes available at www.cecilysfund.org
- For more information about PEPFAR, please visit www.pepfar.gov