PERREAULT Magazine AUG | SEP - Page 68

South Africa has made remarkable progress in the two decades following the end of apartheid and the successful first democratic elections in 1994. Its Constitution is now heralded as one of the most progressive in the world and its GDP is second on the continent only to that of Nigeria, a country with over three times the population.

Despite these advancements, South Africans face significant challenges. Unemployment is high – approximately 40% of black South Africans are without jobs. Its HIV burden continues to be staggering: despite having less than 1% of the world’s population, South Africa has 18% of the world’s people living with HIV—6.1 million, the highest number of any country in the world.

Women are disproportionally affected, comprising 56% of HIV infections. In addition, South Africa has one of the world’s highest rates of rape and other types of sexual and gender-based violence (GBV).

With initial funding from the MAC AIDS Fund, the UCLA Center for World Health,

together with Columbia University, developed an intensive training program

to enhance the capacity of the next generation of South African leaders to reduce the incidence and impact of HIV which deeply affects the health and wellbeing of women and families in the country. Partnering with South Africa’s Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), UCLA’s Center for World Health further refined this program into a year-long fellowship that combined key aspects of HIV prevention, leadership skills, and gender equality.

The goals of this fellowship program include expanding fellows’ knowledge of the drivers, impacts, and intersections of HIV and GBV; developing leadership skills that are relevant to the context and national goals; developing skills for gender empowerment and advocacy; and building skills needed to conceptualize, design, and implement effective, feasible HIV and GBV prevention plans, as well as how to sustain such programs.

Perreault Magazine - 68 -

HIV, Gender Based Violence Prevention & Leadership