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Partner of the Week: Catholic Relief Services Lesotho

Posted in Partner of The Week on April 21, 2017

CRS Lesotho is our partner of the week

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has worked in Lesotho since 2002 and has been a key strategic partner of Aflatoun International since 2012.  CRS project sectors include livelihoods, education, HIV, and emergency response.  CRS currently works in 7 different districts, focusing on hard-to-reach and underserved communities.

CRS current education programs, implemented in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Training, Centre for Impacting Lives (CIL) and Good Sheard Sisters (GSS) focus on integrated early childhood care and development and early grade literacy skills. CRS is focused on prevention of new HIV infections currently working on the DREAMS project. DREAMS is a 10-country initiative funded by USAID/PEPFAR that aims to reduce new HIV infections in adolescent girls and young women by 40%. CRS Lesotho has partnered with Aflatoun International since 2012 and implements parts of the Aflateen programme in the DREAMS project.

The goal of the project is to help girls develop into Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe women (DREAMS). To achieve this goal Aflatoun’s Aflateen curriculum was tailored to meet local country needs and used to provide adolescent girls and young women with balanced social, financial end entrepreneurship skills that are required for their day to day lives to enhance their interaction with the wider community.

The Aflateen programme is geared to support teachers and facilitators to work with children and youth, in this case specifically girls, through learner centred learning. The training focuses on learning by doing as individuals and in small groups.
The programmes has also established successes in other partnerships to reach vulnerable young women. In Uganda, for example, results show an increased likelihood for girls to engage in income generating activities by 72%, and decreased teen pregnancy by 26%.


What makes the DREAMS project unique?

Several factors make DREAMS a unique project but what is important is that DREAMS is about multiple solutions surrounding one problem – DREAMS delivers a core package that combines evidence-based approaches that go beyond the health sector, addresses the structural drivers that directly and indirectly increase girls’ HIV risk, including poverty, gender inequality, sexual violence, and a lack of education. The project targets adolescent girls and young women that are both in and out of school –   the target outreach is in the local communities, orphanages, girls that are working in the factories and school going young women.

Project Impact

The DREAMS project aimed to reach 6000 adolescent girls and young women between the ages of 15-24 in 2016 and has so far transformed lives of 2349 beneficiaries.  The Aflateen program runs for 12 weeks and equips young people with social and financial skills that enable them to meaningfully contribute to their households, communities and national economy.  CRS has trained more than 100 facilitators in 2016 alone.

The boys programme

CRS also offers programs designed for out of school herd boys in an effort to provide and build skills for this marginalised group.  The training curriculum focuses on financial education and entrepreneurship development skills.  Ultimately the beneficiaries are better able to develop problem solving and critical thinking skills set goals; appreciate the value of money, develop teamwork and leadership skills, understand their role in participating in the development of their communities and most important, the importance of engaging in entrepreneurial activities as a tool to creating jobs for themselves and others within their communities.


Please have a look on CRS’s website for more information on this organisation or check out the very nice website of the DREAMS project.