Grand Challenges Canada (GCC) STARS

Responding to gender-based violence with young women living with HIV in Zambia

PATA has partnered with the University of Cape Town and Kabangwe Creative Initiative Association (K.C.I.A.) in a gender-based violence (GBV) project in Zambia. This collaborative project aims to co-develop and test a GBV-focused package that will up-skill peer supporters and clinic mentors to screen young women living with HIV (YWLHIV) or at risk of, and experiencing, gender-based violence and connect them to services.

GCC STARS will test a GBV package called Screen & Support (S&S) and will integrate PATA’s Clinic-Community-Collaboration (C3) model to guide conversations around experiences of violence and mapping resources to effectively respond to violence.

GCC STARS builds upon the previous Ask-Boost-Connect-Discuss (ABCD) project implemented in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia which is aimed at improving access to mental health and psychosocial support for young mothers living with HIV.

Through GCC STARS, PATA aims to build on lessons from the Ask-Boost-Connect-Discuss (ABCD) project and explore the design and implementation of an integrated clinic-community model to respond to GBV/HIV/ SRH service needs for Young Women Living with HIV (YWLHIV) in Zambia.

GCC STARS objectives

Investigate the common experiences of violence, including gender-based violence, among young women living with HIV in Lusaka, Zambia, including young women who are pregnant or mothers

Investigate the existing resources available to support young mothers experiencing or at risk of experiencing violence, including GBV

Explore the service access facilitators and barriers to GBV care for this group, and how existing services can be enhanced to improve the response to GBV

Determine the feasibility of designing and implementing an integrated clinic community model to respond to GBV/HIV/SRH service needs for YWLHIV in Zambia


In South Africa and Zambia, young women exposed to GBV are at high risk of HIV, early (unplanned) motherhood and additional poor health outcomes for themselves and their children.

In both settings, GBV happens in the context of highly inequitable relationships, though Zambia has higher rates of child, early and forced marriage. Existing HIV services, including promising practices of peer-led psychosocial support, do not directly address GBV for several reasons: negative cultural and community norms making change feel impossible, limited skills and tools available to clinical and non-clinical staff, and low levels of engagement in care among YWHIV at risk of or exposed to violence.

GCC STARS partners