In July, Brick by Brick Uganda was awarded significant funding by the U.S. State Department through its DREAMS Innovation Challenge Grant. DREAMS is an ambitious partnership to reduce new HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women in 10 sub-Saharan African countries. AIDS is the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age. DREAMS is responding to the alarming fact that, every year, 390,000 adolescent girls and young women are infected with HIV— 7,300 every week, more than 1,000 every day. The 10 DREAMS countries account for nearly half of all the new HIV infections that occurred among adolescent girls and young women globally in 2014. Brick by Brick Uganda was one of 54 organizations chosen to receive funding through the Innovation Challenge.
Brick by Brick will use this funding to expand its successful My Pads Program to 16 secondary schools in the Rakai District. The My Pads Program is a 9-session extra-curricular education program for girls and young women on reproductive and sexual health, healthy life choices and women's empowerment. Last week, three of our senior staff, Program Director Alice Male, My Pads Coordinator Suzan Kyambadde and Finance and Administration Manager Prossy Nakayiba, traveled to Nairobi for the DREAMS Innovation Challenge launch. There our team learned much about the DREAMS Program, its goals and the expectations of its implementing partners. We met representatives of other NGOs working in Uganda who we hope to partner with. For Suzan and Prossy, it was there first trip out of Uganda on a plane. To say the least, excitement was the order of the day!
This month, we have begun the process of hiring new staff to begin to implement the DREAMS Program in February of 2017!