Lubuto Library Partners (LLP) works with African colleagues to show how public libraries can be recognized as powerful institutions driving development. Through a 2-year grant from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief grant, LLP convinced public health stakeholders that innovative, collaborative and inclusive libraries effectively address central societal problems. The poster presents the example of Lubuto libraries’ programming to reverse the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
As public institutions highly responsive to the information and service needs of their communities, libraries have an especially critical role to play in the fight against HIV/AIDS, reaching vulnerable groups (street children, adolescent mothers, and youth with disabilities) typically excluded from settings where HIV prevention programs are delivered. In Lusaka, Zambia, Lubuto libraries have reached more than 1,020 vulnerable youth with innovative HIV prevention programs.
Lubuto runs a role-model mentoring program under a PEPFAR/DREAMS Innovation Challenge grant to equip adolescent girls and young women aged 15-24 with sexual and reproductive health knowledge and access to services, and foster their determination to achieve. Key programs where Lubuto libraries have been outstandingly successful relative to traditional AIDS programming include:
• Offering HIV testing and counseling services in a non-traditional yet trusted, inclusive, non-stigmatizing environment
• Implementing an effective strategy to combat poverty-driven pressure towards transactional sex
• Employing cross-sectoral partnerships to offer holistic support for adolescents
These lessons suggest that HIV prevention programs can benefit from partnerships to provide counseling at non-traditional community sites such as public libraries, and drive enrollment by addressing factors that influence behavior.