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Formed in December 2003, the African Regional Youth Initiative (ARYI) works with over 400 youth and community-based organizations across Africa addressing development issues outlined in the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals- namely, poverty and hunger, HIV/AIDS and malaria, primary education, gender equity, child mortality, maternal health, and environmental sustainability. The work of ARYI is based on action plans developed by over twenty ARYI country and regional teams that are implemented at community, national, sub-regional and continental levels.
Programs cutting across sub-regions include the Poverty Reduction Strategy program targeting 20 countries; the Reproductive Health Policy program in 10 countries; HIV/AIDS projects in 16 countries; Development Analysis working in 5 countries; African Women of Distinction project implemented in 17 countries; and the Panel on African Commissions currently in 8 countries.
The organization not only empowers individuals and communities, but also nurtures the exchange of knowledge and capacity between entities through programmatic partnerships with regional organizations and networks. Direct community engagement and support mechanisms ensuring both sustainability and quality programming set ARYI's work apart.
ARYI was awarded the 2005 MTV Staying Alive Award for its innovative and community-approach to HIV/AIDS programming. It's founder, Ms. Neema Mgana of Tanzania, was also one of 1000 women jointly nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.