Among the factors contributing to high rates of infection are gender inequalities, dangers while walking long distances and lack of access to reproductive health services – all of which also affect girls’ chances of completing their educations.
At World Bicycle Relief, we know investing in girls and their education can help them break the cycle of poverty and HIV. That’s why, through our Bicycles for Educational Empowerment Program (BEEP), we distribute 70% of bicycles to girl students.
With a bicycle, girls and their families have more opportunities for education, employment and access to healthcare – all of which can change the long-term impact of HIV on young women.
This July, we’re partnering with FHI 360, a non-profit dedicated to improving lives in lasting ways through locally-driven solutions. Together, we will implement an innovative, integrated, and community-led plan to improve the education, health and economic futures of students in Malawi.
The WBR/FHI 360 partnership’s integrated approach will holistically address a range of factors contributing to HIV rates in Malawi.
By using the BEEP model and offering strong group-based mentorship programs, FHI 360 will explore and document the impact of increased mobility on school attendance, access to reproductive health services, sense of safety, school performance and participation and several other outcomes.
FHI 360 also will look to see how bicycles impact girls’ sexual risk-taking – specifically, if they will be less likely to trade sex for rides.
By combining World Bicycle Relief and FHI 360’s approaches, we will be able to use the results of the research to drive innovation and guide us as we build partnerships and programs to address the challenges girls face worldwide.
¹ UNAIDS | http://www.unaids.org/en/regionscountries/countries/malawi