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Abstract

This paper explores the potential of expanding a youth-focused asset-based intervention program for poor communities heavily affected by HIV and AIDS-currently underway in one East African country, Uganda-into similar communities in the other two East African countries: Kenya and Tanzania. This concept paper is informed by prior work on youth-focused asset-based programs first proposed in the United States of America and now successfully implemented in Uganda (Ssewamala, 2008; Ssewamala, Alicea, Bannon, & Ismayilova, 2008; Ssewamala & Ismayilova, 2008, 2009) and grounded in an asset-based development theoretical framework, which denotes an integrated approach to human, social, and economic capital development (Sherraden, 1990, 1991). Although each of these three East African countries faces unique barriers to addressing poverty among youth, including those residing in communities heavily affected by HIV and AIDS, we argue that the promising results realized in Uganda could be effectively replicated in Kenya and Tanzania-given that the three countries share a common geographic boundary, with similar post independence social and economic (and to a lesser extent political) policies and programs. The three countries also have related ethnic and tribal groups.

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