Malawi’s BRIDGE II is the next generation of prevention programming designed to scale up and deepen HIV/AIDS prevention activities in Malawi by removing barriers to individual action and confronting drivers of behavior at the normative/society level.
The BRIDGE II Project is a five-year USAID funded HIV prevention program aimed at promoting normative behavior change and increasing HIV preventive behavior among the adult population in Malawi. The program is implemented by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs (CCP) in partnership with Save the Children Federation (SC), Pact Malawi and The International HIV/AIDS Alliance (Alliance). Local partners include Corporate Graphics, Youth Net and Counseling (YONECO), Galaxy Media Consultants, Story Workshop, and National People Living with HIV/AIDS in Malawi (NAPHAM).
The overall program objective is to contribute towards the reduction of new HIV infections among the adult population in Malawi. By 2014, we envision BRIDGE II will achieve the following outcomes:
- Men and women will have personalized understandings of their HIV risk, and believe they have the skills, knowledge, and motivation necessary to prevent infection.
- Supported by normative change, proactive services, and dynamic institutions, individuals are using available HIV services and adopting safer sexual behaviors, particularly those related to a key driver of the epidemic, Multiple Concurrent Partnership (MCP). Their behavior change is deep and lasting, and an inspiration to others.
- Norms are redefined to recognize, value, and reward couple communication about prevention and sero-status, compassion for those with HIV and AIDS, protection of self and others, gender equity, and rejection of cross-generational sex, alcohol/substance abuse, and harmful traditional practices.
- HIV and other health care providers never miss an opportunity to provide both HIV negative and positive clients with proactive information, counseling, and referral. They will do this through traditional venues, such as client visits, and new approaches, such phone hotlines, cell phone technology, and community events.
- Malawian institutions are taking the lead in HIV prevention in an atmosphere of coordination and collaboration, with a vibrant exchange of ideas, information, and best practices.
BRIDGE II is a strategic, evidence-based communication program that builds on the Nditha! (“I can”) brand developed under BRIDGE I, a USAID funded HIV Prevention project that was led by CCP from 2001-2008. Through the combination of proven community methodologies, interpersonal communication and innovative approaches, BRIDGE II is scaling-up BRIDGE I’s successes while confronting specific drivers of HIV such as multiple concurrent partnerships (MCPs), alcohol/substance abuse, women’s vulnerability, and male norms, and promoting collective efficacy and normative change. In addition, BRIDGE II is linking prevention and referral systems with other HIV/AIDS-related services through existing networks while using m-health to increase access while strengthening forums for exchange of ideas, research, and strategy harmonization, and building capacity of local institutions to lead a coordinated and sustained HIV prevention effort.