Comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) and youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) services are critical to the health and wellbeing of adolescents and young people. When access to CSE and SRHR services are restricted, the consequences are detrimental, especially for girls’ health and rights.
The past two years of school disruptions and COVID-19 lockdowns demonstrate this phenomenon, as the region is witnessing rising numbers of adolescent girls and young women who have become pregnant during the COVID-19 lockdown period. Such stories demand heightened attention to ensuring adolescents and young people have access to CSE and SRHR services and support, especially during emergencies.
A regional consultation on the Eastern and Southern African (ESA) Commitment on Young People was held from 11-12 October 2021 to map out the journey forward until 2030. Participants reflected on the importance of continuing the regional commitment to young people’s health and development,
A shortage of desks posed a challenge for Chibombo Boarding Secondary School – especially in light of COVID-19 and the need to social distance. The school reached out to the FutureLife-Now! Programme for assistance. But the request was not for ready-made desks. Instead, it was for wood, metal and paint – the materials needed to build their own desks.
Built in 1986, Chibombo Boarding Secondary School is one of the oldest boarding schools in Zambia. Initially accommodating 300 learners, the school’s popularity has grown in leaps and bounds. Situated in the central part of the Chibombo District, near the Great North Road, the school attracts a lot of learners and current demand means that it caters for approximately 1 200 learners .
It is no surprise then that Chibombo Boarding Secondary faced many challenges in terms of infrastructure, including a shortage of desks. The coronavirus pandemic,
What do you do when over 50 learners need bursaries and there is only enough funding for 20% of them? If you are a learner at Umbwi Secondary School based in Dedza, Malawi, you start a poultry farming project to raise the necessary funds.
The school is solely dependent on government funding, and there is never enough money to support the many poverty-stricken learners who attend the school. For example, from the 2020 Form 1 selection list, the school had 53 learners who needed bursary support, but only enough money to provide bursaries to 11 learners. This means that dropout rates are high.
As one of the pilot schools in the FutureLife-Now! programme, Umbwi’s learners, with technical assistance from their teachers and the FutureLife-Now! youth facilitator, submitted a proposal to MIET AFRICA for support to carry out a learner-centred poultry farming project.
It was a brave young girl named Shannel Dhiriza who prompted learners at Murape Secondary School to start the “Roses of Hope-Murape” club. The purpose of the club is to fundraise for vulnerable learners at the school who need a helping hand.
It is estimated that 8 800 children lose one or both parents, or their primary caregiver, every year in Zimbabwe1. This has led to many child- and youth-headed households, where young people are left to live alone and look after themselves. However, without an economically active adult, these children face overwhelming challenges.
One such situation came to the attention of the Headmaster of Murape Secondary School, Lameck Chahwanda. Chahwanda is a preacher as well as Headmaster and takes regular trips around the community to preach and give comfort. During one such trip he visited the home of learner, Shannel Dhiriza, and discovered how difficult her life had become.
“As a young man I commit to never laugh at any of the girls when they have problems but instead to help them.”
“As a young man I commit never to disrespect old people and girls.”
These are just two examples of the pledges made by the male learners at Matholeng High School in Lesotho on 18 and 19 September, 2021, at the conclusion of a boys’ vulnerability dialogue, organized by FutureLife-Now!, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Training.
More than 80 boys participated in the interactive dialogue and all wrote and read out what they had committed to as young men.
The aim of the two day workshop was to encourage boys to take advantage of educational opportunities and work towards the prevention of gender-based violence, learner pregnancy and early parenthood.
“A fight against teenage pregnancy, substance abuse,
MIET AFRICA seeks to employ a suitable qualified and experienced Keeping Girls in School (KGIS) Supervisor to take responsibility for the effective supervision and implementation of the KGIS aspect of the Adolescent Girls and Young Women programme. This is a contract position, and the successful applicant will be based at MIET AFRICA’s district office in Soshanguve, Tshwane. Closing date for applications is Monday, 29 November 2021. Click here for more information and to apply.
The Department of Basic Education, in partnership with MIET AFRICA, the National Education Collaboration Trust and UNICEF, will host the second national Care and Support for Teaching and Learning (CSTL) Conference from 24 – 26 November 2021. The discussion for this year’s conference will be under the theme of Reimagining Care and Support Taking Stock: Education Recovery and Continuity and will bring together sector stakeholders and partners into dialogue on the collaboration between government and its non-government partners necessary for delivering on the national care and support mandate in the South Africa.
Join MIET AFRICA and SAfAIDS for the next in the ‘Her Health. Her Education. Her Safety.’ webinar series on 18 November at 2pm. The theme of the webinar is Agency for Youth-driven Climate Action in the SRHR Response. A learner from one of the FutureLife-Now! schools, Sangwani Zulu, from Zambia will join the panel as a discussant. The webinar is free and all are welcome. Click hereto join.
Are you part of the school management of a South African school? MIET AFRICA and NECT are assisting the Department of Basic Education in a rapid assessment of the Care and Support for Teaching and Learning (CSTL) programme in South Africa. Data from this rapid assessment will be shared at the CSTL National Conference at the end of November. We invite principals, deputy principals or chairpersons of school-based support teams to complete an online survey. The purpose of this survey is to find out from schools in South Africa how CSTL is being implemented in their schools and how schools have adapted under the COVID-19 conditions. The questionnaire focuses on the 10 pillars of CSTL, and the support structures and process that may be active at the school. Click here to access the survey.
Please take some time to participate in this important rapid assessment that will inform the Department of Basic Education and its non-governmental partners in how to better support schools in fulfilling their care and support mandate.
MIET AFRICA requires a District Coordinator to take responsibility for leading its UNICEF-funded programme in Lusikisiki. The programme aims to mobilise and sensitize school leadership structures, school governing bodies and parents of learners to support the Department of Basic Education’s National Policy on HIV, STIs and TB, in secondary schools, and menstrual health management in feeder primary schools. This is a contract position ending September 2022, and the successful applicant will be based in the Lusikisiki Sub-District of OR Tambo District. Closing date for applications is Friday 12 November 2021. Click here for more information and to apply. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.