In 2009, LVCT Health carried out a study in Korogocho slum in Nairobi to gather evidence to inform HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health (SRH) interventions and services targeting girls in the urban slums. Study findings revealed that young girls as young as 11 were exploited through sex work in a society that has ‘normalized’ having sex with children.
Many of the study participants were orphaned (as a result of their parents succumbing to HIV AIDS), had dropped out of school or abused alcohol. They also did not have other means to fend for themselves and their siblings other than through sex work. Though focus was on the girls, boys were included in the programme when it emerged that sexual exploitation affected children of both gender.
Through One Child at a Time programme, LVCT Health aims at reducing vulnerability to sexual exploitation and preventing HIV infection among girls and boys aged 18 and below. The interventions offered include: HIV Counseling and Testing (HTC), screening for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and treatment. Those who test HIV positive are linked to health facilities for anti-retroviral therapy (ART). Those who are sexually active are given condoms to prevent them from acquiring HIV infection.
Psychosocial support and life skills are provided to help them know and recognize risk and where to get help when needed. The children are also reintegrated back to school as a long term intervention – since schools are well placed to teach pupils how to make positive choices and informed decisions in their relationships so that they can protect themselves from sexual exploitation.
Since 2014, 1,500 children have been assisted through OCaT. Our aim is to reach 2,700 children by the end of this year – join us in this initiative to ensure children lead a healthy and happy life that is free from sexual exploitation!
$100 can put a child back into school for one term, ($300 per year)
$50 can help prevent HIV and unplanned pregnancies
$100 can provide seed funding for an OCaT group to start an Income Generating Activity (IGA)
$10 can supply one girl with sanitary pads for a year