The lack of high quality Sexual and Reproductive Health services and education in Zimbabwe has meant high rates of HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Infections, and teenage pregnancy. This damages young people’s life prospects, increasing school dropouts and impacting their physical and economic health.
As a signatory to the ESA commitment Zimbabwe has announced the implementation of comprehensive sexuality education however there is no realistic plan to reach out to groups of young people with different vulnerabilities.
That’s why we are committed to increasing access to Sexual and Reproductive health services and information for young people. This programme specifically targets those most vulnerable to unsafe sexual practices, including young people living with disabilities and living in marginalised communities.
We use three major strategies to increase availability and access.
Firstly, we have coordinated and built a network of like-minded organisations with local knowledge, that we support to expand and improve their Sexual and Reproductive Health services. At the same time we work alongside health, education and other public and private organisations to build youth engagement with services.
Youth-led research and advocacy
Perhaps most importantly we work directly with young people. We train them to conduct research, and document their experiences in order to effectively influence decision-makers, shaping both government policy and community attitudes.
Youth leadership and peer-to-peer education
Supporting young people to identify problems and solutions, and advocate for change in their own access ensures meaningful, sustainable and targeted change to services. Not only this but we are investing in and increasing the leadership skills of young people and helping them to claim their voice in all areas of their lives.
Our young people are also helping to plug the gaps. They are trained to deliver Sexual and Reproductive health education to other young people with disabilities through peer to peer learning.