Exciting news for the FutureLife-Now! community and all those with a stake in gender equality in the education sector! At their annual meeting held this year in June in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Ministers of Education adopted the SADC Boys’ and Young Men’s Vulnerability Framework as an addendum to the Care and Support for Teaching and Learning Policy Framework (CSTL PF).
The Boys’ and Young Men’s Vulnerability Framework is a comprehensive planning framework that supports the Member States of SADC to implement interventions to achieve gender equality through the provision of prevention, protection and support services for boys and young men. Its development was informed by a regional study on boys’ vulnerability that was commissioned in 2019. The study found that there is an urgent need to strengthen the engagement of boys and young men to support gender equality and female empowerment,
Autone Mululuma, a young man growing up in a peri-urban area in the Chimbombo District in the Central Province in Zambia, faced a problem. In the community where he lives, many of the young people, both males and females, are disaffected and have little opportunity for passing their free time productively. As a result, many indulge in illicit activities and destructive behaviour. But Autone wanted more for himself. He sought for a skill that could empower him, while delivering him from the temptations his peers were falling prey to. But his aspirations seemed farfetched and likely to fail: at the time, there seemed to be no programmes in schools aimed at empowering young people with entrepreneurial skills.
Fortunately for Autone, he was a learner at Moomba Boarding Secondary School, where he encountered the FutureLife-Now! Programme. The programme provided Moomba with a hundred chicks and Autone expressed an interest in working with them.
Fort Rixon Secondary School in Zimbabwe provides just one example of how FutureLife-Now! has impacted a school and its community. Through the programme, much has changed for the better at the school. In the words of the school head, Lawrence Sibanda:
The implementation of the FutureLife-Now! programme has helped the school to work harmoniously with partners in improving the health of learners and community members through the services being offered by different partners.
So the school was excited when the FutureLife-Now! team suggested it organise a health services fare. A big responsibility, for sure, but the community leadership, led by the local counsellor, Jostinah Ndondo, mobilised the villagers to assist in the organisation. She set up a working committee comprising representatives from the 12 villages that make up Fort Rixon School’s catchment area.
About 590 learners, teachers and members of the community attended the successful event,
MIET AFRICA’s partnership with UNESCO is resulting in fruitful collaborations, including the participation of FutureLife-Now! in the capacity training UNESCO provided in Lesotho on its Connect with Respect initiative. UNESCO conducted the training for Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) officials in Maseru from 10 to 14 July, with the FutureLife-Now! in-country teams from Lesotho and Malawi also attending (as did the youth development manager and the regional technical assistant). South Africa’s Department of Basic Education, which has recently joined Phase 2 of the FutureLife-Now! Programme, also sent two officials to participate.
UNESCO believes that schools, and the learning processes they provide, afford an ideal and unique opportunity to deliver interventions that prevent violence, in particular gender-based violence (GBV), which is all too common in schools and societies across the world. Its Connect with Respect: preventing gender-based violence in schools, which is a “classroom programme for learners in upper primary and early secondary school (ages 12-15)”,
Young Africans must have the facts and confidence to stay safe and healthy, live a dignified life and contribute positively to their community and countries. Prof Mbulelo Dyasi (Bishop, and Vice Chair, Board of Directors, INERELA)
Often unfairly attacked and misunderstood, comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) plays a critical role in addressing knowledge gaps and misinformation surrounding sexual reproductive health.
In fact, CSE helps individuals, especially young people, to develop a thorough and more complete understanding of their bodies, relationships and sexuality. As Prof Dyasi implies, it is essential for adolescents and young people to receive reliable, science-based information about sexuality so they can make informed decisions: CSE empowers individuals to make informed choices regarding their sexual health and wellbeing.
CSE covers a wide range of topics—from consent, relationships, reproductive health, gender identity, sexual orientation, contraception methods and sexually transmitted infections through to healthy decision-making skills.