The impact of COVID-19 will have an irreversible effect on progress that has been made if governments do not redouble their efforts and move forward with ever greater commitment to adolescent wellbeing. What is needed – now more than ever – is greater economic investment and infrastructure development in health, education, technology and protection while ensuring the involvement of young people in the policy discourse.
This is the outcome of an exploratory study undertaken by MIET AFRICA and the Human Science Research Council (HSRC), the report of which was recently launched.
Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, some progress had been made in improving adolescents and young peoples’ lives, although economic inequalities meant that the benefits had not been enjoyed by all young people. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has not only exacerbated challenges experienced by the most vulnerable but has made every young person vulnerable.
Youth participation in community development is one of the most effective ways to promote young people’s active engagement in sustainable development. Murape Secondary School is showing that this is so, especially when it comes to climate change.
Although young people should be responsible for shaping their future as leaders of tomorrow, in many communities their participation is often limited to their labour contribution, and ignores the importance of their participation in decision-making, choices, and management.
The situation is very different at Murape Secondary School, one of the 10 FutureLife-Now! pilot schools, located in Seke District, Mashonaland, East Province, Zimbabwe. The school started a club called “The Climate Change Movers”. This club is working to empower its members to not only take decisions but to act on these. These young people work closely with the community to address issues they have learnt about and that they can see affecting their communities.
What do boys and young men need? The best way to find out is to ask them!
This is precisely what happened at the boys’ vulnerability dialogue sessions at Ngowe and Natola Community Day Secondary schools in Malawi, on 22 and 25 June, 2021.
The sessions were organised by the FutureLife-Now! programme in its quest to include young boys and men in programmes in an attempt to address the impact of gender disparities in society.
“There is an urgent need to strengthen the engagement of boys and young men concerning the support for gender equality and female empowerment, as well as to address their own specific social, emotional, and developmental needs,” said Croxley Nkhoma, Malawi’s FutureLife-Now! Country Manager, “Yet, despite a growing awareness among SADC Member States for the need to involve and support boys, the reality is that they are seldom targeted. It is imperative that we accelerate action towards SDG goal 5 –
Three days of intensive interactions has significantly strengthened the linkages between Lesotho’s 10 FutureLife-Now! schools and their nearby health facilities.
FutureLife-Now! Country Manager, Rantsane Kuleile, said that the main purpose of the development of a referral system was to ensure leaners in all 10 schools were aware and able to access care in supportive, friendly health facilities.
“This is in line with one of the FutureLife-Now! programme’s objectives, which is to increase access to youth-friendly HIV, sexual reproductive health rights (SRHR) and ART adherence support and services, using a school-based delivery model.”
The FutureLife-Now! team’s three-day workshop with health professionals in Lesotho was a first important step towards strengthening linkages between health and education in all 10 schools.
When welcoming participants to the workshop, Kuleile asked everyone to be as open and interactive as possible. “We hope to come out of the three days with a working document for Lesotho,
Mwembeshi Boarding Secondary school is a role model for all schools in Zambia in terms of its agricultural production unit.
That is according to Dr. Jobbicks Kalumba, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of General Education, who toured the school last month and stated that other schools should emulate Mwembeshi and take guidance from the school because it is performing so well.
Mwembeshi, one of the FutureLife-Now! schools in Zambia, is located in the rural area of Chilanga district in Lusaka province, 38km west of Lusaka city. It began an agricultural production unit in 2015 and the unit has achieved far more than its original aim which was to “feed the learners”.
At the outset the school produced only cabbage, but has grown and improved in leaps and bounds and today utilises about six hectares of land to grow crops on a rotation basis, (currently,