Tutu profileHelping prevent HIV, and empowering young women to become Women of Worth, the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation programme is helping grow women of confidence.

 

 

 

 

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Leading the way into a better future, Women of Worth is focused on empowering women to become strong and confident.  Through workshops aimed at young women aged 19-24 years, Women of Worth is one of the largest projects delivered by the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation. 

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The Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation is a non-profit organisation that aims to lessen the impact of the HIV epidemic on individuals, families, and communities. It conducts research to find new HIV treatment and prevention tools, and provides services such as mobile clinics and HIV education programs.  Women of Worth is a female empowerment programme that has been implemented in Klipfontein and Mitchell’s Plain, in collaboration with the Western Cape Department of Health.

Women of Worth aims to provide empowerment workshops to 10,000 women, that focus on job readiness, sexual and reproductive health promotion, as well as tackling mental health issues and gender norms. Young women that attend have access to free and comprehensive health screening services from mobile clinics, and receive a small stipend conditional on their attendance.

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To help enable this generation to end HIV/AIDS, there is a great need for HIV prevention strategies that are community-based, acceptable and meet the youth where they are.   Research supports the view that programmes like Women of Worth that provide comprehensive sexual education, and that incorporate gender and power dynamics, have a greater effect on HIV outcomes than those that do not. 

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Women of Worth is in its third year of delivering workshops and feedback from participants has been positive so far:

One participant said about her experience, “I never thought I’d be the woman I am today.  When I joined the course I lacked self-confidence and didn’t believe in myself.  Today I believe that nothing is impossible as long as I give it my all.” 

Another participant said, “I firstly learnt to take care of myself, to know what I want and to go after it.  We were taught to start to believe in ourselves, and that whatever history or background we come from cannot determine where we are heading.”