Combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the DRC
This project, led by the Réseau des associations congolaises des jeunes contre le sida (RACOJ/sida), enjoys strong support from national stakeholders. The launch ceremony took place in the presence of His Excellency the Minister of Youth, Mr. Yves Bonkulu, Dr. Aimé Mboyo, General Director of the national multisectoral program to fight against AIDS, Dr. Rachel Ndaya, National Coordinator of RACOJ, as well as representatives from the French Embassy and The Initiative. The challenge is significant: according to the National Strategic Plan 2018-2021 of the DRC, among adolescents aged 10 to 19, 36,700 are living with HIV, which represents 14% of all people affected by the virus in the country.
Generate reliable data and improve access to information and services
“As part of this project, we will establish youth clubs and friendly adolescent listening and information centers in the health zones where the project will be implemented.“
Dr. Rachel Ndaya
This project is based on two main areas of intervention. Firstly, to create a dependable database on sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents and youth, disaggregated by gender and age, within three categories (10-14 years, 15-19 years, and 20-24 years). Secondly, to enhance their access to information and health services, especially targeting students, young people living in street situations, those involved in associations, and LGBTIQ+ youth. The aim is to provide age-specific and tailored services for each age group.
Enhanced Partnership with Congolese Civil Society
This new program follows the “Youth and HIV” project previously implemented by RACOJ/AIDS in consortium with Médecins du Monde, funded by L’Initiative. It significantly contributed to the increased utilization of available HIV services in Kinshasa and North Kivu through the establishment of youth spaces, the development of awareness messages specifically tailored for adolescents, and advocacy for minors’ free HIV testing. Building on this prior experience, the expertise of Jeunialissime, an organization specialized in working with LGBTIQ+ individuals, will now be integrated. They will be responsible for leading all activities targeting this specific group of youth, particularly in relation to dismantling social barriers.
However, the support from Expertise France doesn’t end there. Since May 2021, two experts have been engaged by The Initiative to strengthen RACOJ’s financial management and monitoring and evaluation capacities for this new program. This commitment was reiterated by Virginie Biau, in charge of project monitoring in the Democratic Republic of Congo at The Initiative:
“We are dedicated to supporting civil society organizations, such as RACOJ, in the fight against the three pandemics and in providing access to healthcare for adolescents and youth.”