207381 Using Microcredit to Reduce Sexual Risk Behavior among Young Women in Namibia: An Intervention & Evaluation in Caprivi & Kavango Regions

Monday, November 9, 2009

Andee Cooper, MPH , Consultant, Durham, NC
John Bronson , Project HOPE, Millwood, VA
Sandra Dalebout, MPH , Project HOPE, Millwood, VA
Joseph Luchenta , Project HOPE, Millwood, VA
Terthu Ngodji , Project HOPE, Millwood, VA
Isabel Mendes , Project HOPE, Millwood, VA
Patrick Reilly , Project HOPE, Millwood, VA
In an effort to reduce transactional sex, concurrent partners, and unprotected sex among vulnerable young women in Caprivi and Kavango Regions of Namibia, Project HOPE has offered microcredit loans along with risk-reduction education as integrated behavior change intervention. Ongoing quantitative and qualitative evaluations are being conducted to measure the intervention's effectiveness.

Project HOPE gave 734 young women (15-24 years old) small loans, business training, and weekly health-education sessions using a modified Stepping Stones curriculum. Baseline results show that: Almost all participants (94.5%) have had sex, and 6% report having sex with someone 10 or more years older. Of the sexually active, 46% knew their partner less than a month before having sex, and 85% reported having received gifts or money from this partner. More than 70% of participants said women their age expect gifts or money from their partners, and 44% of women in Caprivi said they would not be in their current relationship if they did not expect to receive these things. Compared to other regions, condom use at last sex is low (Caprivi, 39% and Kavango, 53%). Although less than 5% reported having a concurrent partner in the past 3 months, more than two-thirds reported their partner having other regular sex partners. Further analyses (4 and 12 month follow-up) will look for predictors of risk behavior.

The empowering effects of financial independence can lead to greater autonomy and freedom from social pressures. Therefore, this integrated behavior change intervention has the potential to reduce these risky behaviors over time.

Learning Objectives:
Explain how economic strengthening can be used as a component of a behavior change intervention; Discuss the interventionís effectiveness through analysis of baseline results

Keywords: Women and HIV/AIDS, Risky Behaviors

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the Headquarter's Program Manager/backstop for this project since May 2008.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: HIV and Africa
See more of: HIV/AIDS