Abstinence = Allowance

A new program has started in Tanzania that pays people money when they test negative for STIs. The program, being conducted by the World Bank and others, reaches out to thousands of 15 – 30 year olds who agree to come in regularly to test for STIs and are paid $45 a year if the tests are negative.

The idea behind it, some say, is to give young girls an alternative to the “sugar daddies” that permeate their society. If the girls can get the money they need to live from another source, perhaps they won’t allow their bodies to be used by older men who provide for their basic needs. This program is being called a form of “reverse-prostitution.” These young girls are exchanging the rights to their body for food, clothing and other basic necessities.

Some say the program is derogatory. Others see it as a way out.

An organization goes into an impoverished area and establishes a merit based system where if young people abstain from sex (or practice safe sex) they get paid. One analysis I read said the girls in this program had two options for survival: an older man or this program. The writer worried about the girls not being able to pay their bills between checks from the program and so would turn to selling out their bodies.

Is there no other form of income?

Are there no education programs for the young people? Are there entry level jobs after school? Can these girls dreams be met by a microfinance program? Will none of girls use the money (equal to a year’s pay in some cases) to go nursing school or other vocational training? Why is it that if the girls run out of the money they receive for “being responsible” their only alternative is to get a “sugar daddy?”

Sources: http://ugandascarlettlion.blogspot.com/; http://us.ft.com/ftgateway/superpage.ft?news_id=fto042520081725540851&page=1;
http://globalbioethics.blogspot.com/2008/04/buying-public-health-world-banks.html

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