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Sparked Women - Local business solutions for better health

Every day over 1,000 adolescent girls and young women are newly infected with HIV. Women in the 15-24 age group account for more than 70% of all new HIV infections in Sub Saharan Africa. High unemployment rates among young women increase their dependency on  men, which can lead to risk taking in sexual behaviour. Sparked Women aims to reduce new HIV infections in women aged 15-24 by economically empowering young women in six districts in Uganda.

Introducing 2 business models

We are introducing two proven business models to create 7,729 job opportunities for adolescent girls and young women. The Healthy Entrepreneurs model enables 729 young community health volunteers to become small business owners. They sell essential health products, and alert their peers to the importance of HIV prevention and other sexual health topics. The Sawa World model offers 7,000 young women self-employment opportunities through training in practical skills.

Setting up a sustainable community health delivery system

At the same time, through community health entrepreneurs communities have access to health products, services and health promotion. In particular young girls benefit from reliable information on HIV prevention and on sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Results so far

After one year we have trained 906 health volunteers as community health entrepreneurs and 9852 girls in Sawa World solutions.

Vlog series to demonstrate the impact

Out of all those women, we are following 7 of them on their journeys towards becoming empowered business women and role models to other young women in their communities. Four ambitious and enthusiastic girls have been trained as vloggers for this project. Watch the vlogs


DREAMS to fast-track the AIDS response

Aidsfonds has successfully applied to the DREAMS Innovation Challenge, a partnership to reduce new HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women in ten sub-Saharan African countries.

The ten DREAMS countries, including Uganda, account for nearly half of all new HIV infections that occurred among adolescent girls and young women globally in 2014. Sparked Women is contributing to the UNAIDS Fast-Track initiative which calls on all of us to focus our resources on the geographical areas and the populations in greatest need.

Project in short


Uganda (Mukono, Mubende, Mityana, Gomba, Bukomansimbi, Ssembabule districts)

Implementing partners:

- Healthy Entrepreneurs
- International Community of Women living with HIV East Africa (ICW EA)
- National Forum of People living with HIV Networks in Uganda (NAFOPHANU)
- Sawa World

Grant period:

2016 – 2018


1.2 million US dollars

Funded by:

PEPFAR as part of the DREAMS Innovation Challenge, supported by PEPFAR; Janssen Pharmaceutica NV (Janssen), one of the Janssen pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson; and ViiV Healthcare. JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. is the Funds Manager for this award.