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,