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Our Story

The Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP) invests in African youth to keep themselves safe from HIV/AIDS. The Project was created in 2007 by Charlize Theron, Academy Award winning actor and UN Messenger of Peace. CTAOP provides support to organizations through direct grants, networking, and spotlighting the power of their work. All grantees are locally engaged organizations that use community specific programming to work with youth between the ages of 10-20 years old. Although the geographic scope of CTAOP is Sub-Saharan Africa, the primary area of focus has been Charlize’s home country of South Africa, which has the highest number of people living with HIV in the world.

Over 200,000 young people in some of the most vulnerable parts of Sub-Saharan Africa have directly benefitted from our efforts to date.

Since the beginning of the epidemic 30 years ago, it’s estimated that over 35 million people have died from AIDS-related illnesses (UNAIDS 2013). Fortunately, in recent years, there has been tremendous progress. Although there is no cure, treatment is available. Infection rates are dropping and more people are on treatment than ever before. But the fight is not over, and the epidemic is disproportionately affecting specific locations and populations.

Our Approach

Permanent change cannot happen without community buy-in. Community-based organizations are the experts on the ground who are passionate about making their communities better. They are the ones reaching the individuals that are falling through the cracks, but they need more support. We strive to develop collaborative, long-term relationships with grantees built on mutual trust and respect. In this manner, both CTAOP and our grantees can evolve together to increase each community’s capacity to prevent HIV. Lessons from the ground help inform CTAOP’s advocacy efforts at the policy level with groups like The Global Fund, UNAIDS, and the South African government, ensuring that policy remains connected to realities.

Theory of Change

Experience has taught us that education forms a basis to be able to make good decisions, but without addressing issues like gender disparities, self-efficacy, stigma, or the ability to negotiate safe relationships, education may be rendered powerless. For young people, the ability to protect themselves from HIV is encompassed in their overall empowerment and ability to invest in their own futures as well as the future of their peers and communities. Providing knowledge and support leads to changes in attitudes and increases self-efficacy. This change influences behavior, empowering young people to make healthy decisions with regard for their futures. CTAOP supports programs that align with this theory of change.

Knowledge

LEARNING…

  • sexual and reproductive health education
  • tools and skills to negotiate relationships
  • job training
  • leadership development

UNDERSTANDING…

  • individual human rights
  • how to access health services

Attitudes

REDUCING…

  • HIV/AIDS related stigma
  • low self-esteem/low self-efficacy
  • perceptions of low risk

Behaviors

DEVELOPING HABITS OF…

  • attending school
  • delaying sexual debut
  • using condoms
  • positively influencing peers
  • contributing to the promotion and protection of human rights

AVOIDING…

  • much older partners
  • alcohol/substance abuse

Our Council

CTAOP is grateful for the support of our two councils: CTAOP Advisory Council and CTAOP Ubuntu Council.

The CTAOP Advisory council is comprised of global leaders in the fields of HIV/AIDS work, philanthropy, and/or business in Africa. These individuals lend their expertise and help to guide CTAOP’s strategic programmatic decisions.

The CTAOP Ubuntu Council are advocates for the organization and cause, lending their support to fundraising efforts, program trips and organizational development.