Girls Act, in their own words

Girls Act, in their own words

2022 marks the first five years of the Girls Act, a program which aims to provide tools for girls’ agency to use in difficult contexts and thus avoid acquiring HIV, unwanted pregnancies, violence or leaving school. Ultimately, these girls take ownership of their future and improve their communities.

The Global Girls Act was launched in November 2016 by AHF. The first events happened in Uganda, South Africa, Nigeria, and then Kenya.  It started as a campaign and evolved into a program for sustainability and measurable impact.

This year, around October 11 is the International Day of the Girl and at AHF, some of the girls who participate in AHF Latam spoke about themselves, their communities and their dreams. The majority come from indigenous communities, in El Chaco in Argentina; Manaure, in Colombia; from Haiti, Guatemala and Peru. They all have a mission to fulfill.

Let’s remember that a community will be as strong as its girls and that can only be achieved by guaranteeing their education, access to health services, the right to know their bodies and the right to live a childhood and youth without forced unions or teenage pregnancies.

We know that 25% of adolescents in the region are part of informal unions before the age of 18, often due to an unplanned pregnancy, according to Unicef data. While Mexico ranks eighth in the world for the absolute number of adolescents married or in union — one million 420 thousand — that is, 26%, in the Dominican Republic, the percentage is 36% and in Guatemala 30%.

There are almost 600 girls who today participate in 7 countries: Argentina, Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Peru and the Dominican Republic. And in 2023 it will reach other countries reached by AHF services in the region.

To date, the Girls Act program is present in 32 countries where the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) operates, a driving organization whose main mission is to prevent, diagnose, and support the treatment of HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).

Please watch this video, a testimony of the process in which the participating girls were able to make themselves heard and speak not only for themselves but also for their communities.