We are on the cusp of a revolution in HIV/AIDS and teenage pregnancy prevention in Southern Africa. It's time we stop guessing – it's time to scale HIV education programs that have been rigorously proven to work. These programs exist, and have been evaluated by organizations such as the Jameel Poverty Action Lab and Innovations for Poverty Action. Yet, the results of these evaluations too often sit in ivory tower libraries, accumulating layer after layer of dust. All the while, millions of Africans continue to be taught stale information every day in school. We bridge the gap. Young 1ove – a new NGO launched in Botswana – connects young Africans to proven, life-saving HIV education.
Our current focus is scaling a 1-hour "sugar daddy awareness" class. This class was evaluated via a randomized controlled trial in Kenya and shown to reduce teen pregnancy by 28%, also a proxy for unprotected sex and HIV. It is not often 1-hour can significantly change a life. To this end, it's imperative we scale this program, to combat the pervasiveness of intergenerational sex, teen pregnancy and the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Young 1ove is changing the game. We're incorporating evidence into the battle against HIV/AIDS. Good intentions are not enough. We need hard evidence. Saving lives is too important. There is almost no programming on intergenerational sex in Botswana and much of Southern Africa. The focus has been on abstinence and condoms. We're shifting the focus to an issue that is dire, and an issue we know how to address. Our focus on intergenerational sex is a rare scale-up of evidence-based HIV education and even rarer, a case where knowledge truly is power.