Grassroots to Government: Gender-based Solutions for Nigerian Women
In Nigeria, as in most countries, women and girls assume the bulk of the caregiving burden for those infected with HIV and children left vulnerable or orphaned by AIDS. These responsibilities often prevent girls and women from obtaining an education and developing income-generating skills. Exacerbating these problems are social norms that prevent some girls and women from accessing health information and services and severely limit their control over their sexuality, leaving them vulnerable to violence and abuse. Other cultural norms may deprive women and girls of economic resources and inhibit their ability to seek legal protection from exploitation or mistreatment.
Fortunately, since 2009, the PEPFAR-funded, USAID project, Community-Based Support for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (CUBS), has been addressing these challenges by working with orphaned or vulnerable girls and female caregivers, as well as civil society organizations (CSOs) and key stakeholders at the national, state, and community levels. Implemented by Management Sciences for Health (MSH) in partnership with Africare, CUBS works to improve gender equality by empowering women, educating their families and communities, and working with government stakeholders to strengthen social services, expand support structures, and reduce barriers to care. CUBS is currently supporting 10,000 young and adolescent girls and 10,958 female caregivers.