The St. Maarten AIDS Foundation, in collaboration with Emory University in the US, rolled out the Girl Power program in 2006. Tailored specifically for St. Maarten’s teenage girls enrolled in secondary schools, Girl Power is an HIV/STI prevention program that applies the theory of gender equality and empowerment.
A KABP (Knowledge, Attitude, Behavior, Practices) study conducted on the island showed that secondary school students are at high risk for STI/HIV infection, due to various factors such as early initiation of sexual experiences, poor communication skills with adults, poor negotiation skills, lack of self efficacy and low risk perception.
The goal of the program is to change the behavior of adolescent female students in an attempt to decrease or stabilize the number of STI/HIV infections on the island.
As of mid-2012, over 1,000 teenage girls have participated in the three-day workshops, learning skills in the areas of decision-making, problem-solving, assertiveness, refusing risky situations and safer sex practices.
Ultimately, Girl Power hopes to help St. Maarten’s young girls to become more knowledgeable, more confident, and surrounded by peers with norms that are more supportive of safer relationships and healthy lifestyles.
A group photo of the facilitators of the Girl Power program, May 2012
If you’d like to learn more about or volunteer for Girl Power, please contact us at or Ria Uiterloo at .