A lesson from our Tikambe 'Let’s Talk' Project in Zambia

30 Nov 16
ZAMBIA

 

We began our work on the Tikambe ('Let’s Talk') Project with the objective of demonstrating ways in which the power of concerted efforts can be used to effect influence change/improvement in the provision of services around the post 2015 priorities for young people.

Our objective led us toward an audacious goal — working to strengthen implementation of the Eastern and Southern African Commitment with specific focus on Comprehensive Sexuality Education across the region drawn from lessons and recommendations in Zambia. We identified the lack of CSE evidence meant to inform implementation improvement as one of the areas that needed immediate attention. While work remains to be done to achieve this ultimate goal, the voices of learners, and teachers and other direct implementers about the need, desire and opportunities for improvement comprehensive sexuality education have been documented and shared with decision-makers. Perhaps most importantly, local perspectives on the most difficult CSE/SRHR issues faced by learners and implementation level stakeholders are now available to the Ministry of General Education and can be factored into CSE curricula changes.

There is now more implementation level evidence available to decision-makers which strongly indicates that the comprehensive sexuality education content/programming currently offered to learners in Zambia should improve. Looking at how we have targeted our advocacy efforts, we believe that the changes/improvements made to that content and to the implementation efforts will be driven, in part, by the recommendations from the documents that we have made available such as An Analysis on the implementation of Provisions Under the ESA Commitment on Comprehensive Sexuality Education and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Zambia, Strengthening Access to Quality Comprehensive Sexuality Education-Lessons Learned and Recommendations ,Young People Doing Something About It, A report on the Youth-Led CSE School Assessments 2016.

Through the above, CSE is understood as valuable and requiring additional support in content and implementation improvement for maximum impact. The different ministry’s tasked with the responsibility of implementing ESA-CSE, now have evidence of implementation issues that will need to be addressed when changes to CSE are being made.

The CSO and institutions that make up the alliance are working to strengthen, in one way or another, the provision of commitments under ESA-CSE in its current form, and as part their obligation to the alliance, they were initially tasked to collect using a range of tools, on a regular basis ESA -CSE implementation level evidence from where they work. This however didn’t provide evidence adequate enough to meet the advocacy efforts that the alliance had resolved to employ in its strategy. We had learned that in order for our advocacy efforts to be effective we needed to our evidence collection methodology needed to follow certain standards even though drawn from different levels of ESA-CSE implementation.
We thus worked on developing the School CSE Assessment Tool, a simple tool meant to aid the collection of CSE implementation level evidence. Using the tool, interested parties can collect implementation level evidence, voices and perspectives directly from beneficiaries and duty bearers, analysis and recommendations which can then be used for implementation improvement. The process recognizes the role that stakeholders outside the school /outside the ministry, CSO’s in this case, can play in contributing to CSE implementation and ultimately improvement.

If this innovation is undertaken at the national level, apart from further growing the ESA-CSE evidence base, it is likely to benefit the partnership between CSO’s and the ministry’s tasked with the implementation of ESA-CSE as it helps further define civil society’s role in supporting the implementation of commitments under ESA and overall commitments on the post 2015 overall health priorities through this Technical assistance and advocacy. Regarding implantation of ESA-CSE, government through the tasked ministries recognizes that there are roles that CSOs can play; the limitation has been that these roles are not clearly defined.

The National Alliance on Monitoring implementation of ESA – CSE is a coalition of youth-led and youth-focused civil society organisations and institutions championing the rights of young people on SRHR and HIV with a gender component. It aims at generating evidence that is aimed at addressing the underlying causes of the challenges in the effective implementation of the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) Commitment; CSE and SRHR for young people. The alliance is led by Restless Development under the Tikambe-Lets Talk Project funded by AmplifyChange. Together we have a wealth of experience in supporting young people to play a leading role in governance and accountability.
The Youth Advisors are a network of 30 young leaders that, with the support of National Alliance on Monitoring the Implementation of ESA-CSE, are involved in monitoring the implementation of the provisions under the ESA Commitment in Zambia. The work of the Youth Advisors contributes to the Tikambe Project. Part of the projects work is to ensure that young people’s capacity growth in the area of accountability. We believe that if young people have the right knowledge, skills and networks, meaningful opportunities to participate, and the ability to generate and share data, they will be able to participate in bringing about improvements in services meant for them.

Through the alliance, the Youth Advisors are supported to:

• Monitor and review implementation - level and commitments and produce reports to raise awareness of pressing issues around ESA Commitment provisions.
• Gather and generate ESA Commitment implementation level data for accountability and recommendations informing policy or service delivery improvement.