FutureLife-Now! is a regional programme designed to address the scourge of HIV and the associated challenges related to gender and climate change. To achieve its goal of reducing new HIV infections and increasing adherence to Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) amongst children and youth in the SADC Region, the programme leverages the successful SADC Care and Support for Teaching and Learning (CSTL) Framework—developed in the early 2000s and which, in 2018, reached over 30 million of the region’s learners with support services.

What makes FutureLife-Now! unique?

  • It combines three key ingredients necessary for behaviour change amongst youth: (1) knowledge; (2) access to services and support; and (3) agency (power to make decisions and take action)
  • It brings together two critical elements for human development—education and health— by strengthening linkages between schools and health facilities

To promote greater self-confidence, agency and hope among young people in the SADC Region, a combination of activities are implemented, including (i) strengthened HIV education policies, (ii) enhanced comprehensive sexuality education (CSE), (iii) access to youth-friendly HIV and SRHR services, facilitated through schools, (iv) targeted programming for boys and young men, and (v) encouraging youth-driven climate change action

SADC and its Member States are the owners of the FutureLife-Now! programme. The regional implementing partner is MIET AFRICA and the funding partner is the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Other partners contributing to the programme include UN agencies, regional and national NGOs, research institutes, the private sector, and regional and international development partners.

All SADC Member States benefit from the programme.through regional activities including research, knowledge sharing, policy strengthening and harmonization, and the development of regional resources for adaptation and use by individual Member States.
At the national level, four Member States—Lesotho, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe—have been selected for piloting new national-level HIV prevention interventions and 10 school communities have been identified within each Member State.

COVID-19: FutureLife-Now! Assisting Member State Responses

Most governments around the world have temporarily closed educational institutions in an attempt to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. These nationwide closures are impacting more than 1.5 billion, or over 90% of the world’s student population, from pre-primary to higher education. This can result in a reversal of education gains and limit children’s educational and vocational opportunities. The longer a student stays out of school the higher the risk of dropping out and students who are out of school are at an increased risk of teenage pregnancy, child marriage, violence and exploitation.[1],[2],[3]

School closures pose particular risks for adolescent girls and young women by increasing the likelihood of different forms of sexual exploitation and abuse. These risks are heightened during the coronavirus pandemic particularly for learners living in disadvantaged households, crisis-affected areas and places with limited supervision of children.

In response, MIET AFRICA, in partnership with Global Hope Mobilisation (GLOHOMO) and the SADC, and with financial support from SDC, is assisting the four FutureLife-Now! pilot Member States in their preparedness, responses and prevention of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The intervention will address two components critical for combatting the pandemic: (1) strengthening the health system through the provision of emergency COVID-19 support and equipment and (2) protecting the vulnerable populations through the dissemination of accurate and accessible information.

The support is built on a combination of hardware and soft skills that will specifically strengthen the COVID-19 responses of the Ministries of Health and Education, and other relevant ministries in the four targeted countries.

The FutureLife-Now! programme provides an effective vehicle through which to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic: not only does it provide an infrastructure that enables quick action, it serves vulnerable populations that are at high risk of contracting COVID-19.

[1] https://en.unesco.org/covid19/educationresponse/consequences
[2] Framework for reopening schools, April 2020
[3] World Bank Policy Note The COVID-19 Pandemic: Shocks to Education and Policy https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/33696


What is FutureLife-Now!?