SRHR Service Providers Dialogue

Barriers to Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services and information put girls’ health at risk. Inconsistent laws and policies relating to the age at which girls are able to access SRHR services without parental consent; stigma and taboo around the sexual activity of adolescents; a lack of comprehensive sexuality education, and other inconsistencies continue to negatively impact girls’ sexual and reproductive health. FAWEZI held a dialogue with SRH service providers from Chitungwiza today to discuss the policies surrounding SRH for adolescents.
Our aims were:

  • To interrogate existing SRHR services for Adolescents Girls and Young Women (AGYW) in and out of school, including the disabled.
  • To identify commonly sought services among AGYW, the availability of the services, and challenges being faced in accessing them
  • To analyze existing policies guiding SRH service provision .

The discussions buttressed the need to further build the capacity of service providers, especially on delivering SRH services to adolescent girls considering religious and cultural beliefs, ages of consent, and stigmatization. Thank you AmplifyChange for helping us maximize opportunities for adolescents and young women’s access to SRH awareness.

More Sexual and Reproductive Health Talks

More Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights #SRHR dialogues with our girls in schools. At Wadzanayi Primary and Secondary school in Shamva the girls proved to have information on most of the issues like menstrual hygiene and all forms of child abuse. The girls shared challenges on issues of harmful cultural beliefs – Chiramu and drug and substance abuse. Thank you AmplifyChange for funding our work and allowing us to foster and encourage dialogues on the multifaceted nature of SRHR.

SRHR Dialogue in Shamva

We continue to share experiences form our Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights dialogues – this time from Madziwa Mine Primary and Secondary schools in Shamva. We spoke about child rights and responsibilities, and about SRHR nuances with students from a range of ages and backgrounds. Our facilitators from the School District Office engaged learners in an exercise to identify their rights and responsibilities as well. As FAWEZI we led the conversations into more details of SRHR. Most questions raised from the Primary and Secondary children revolved around sexual abuse and menstrual hygiene management. Lack of sanitary wear , inadequate ablution facilities, and the ‘cloak of silence’ around menstruation issues at home, were the major challenges raised by girls. 

SRHR dialogues with young women in Shamva District

FAWEZI had an SRHR dialogue with young women from Chitungwuza District this morning 27 February, 2019!
The event was graced by representatives from The District Administrators Office, the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Chitungwuza City Health, and the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises-Developments. Thank you to everyone involved and who has shown up this morning.

Participants of FAWEZI’s dialogue with young women in Chitungwiza engaged in an evaluation exercise put on by FAWEZI’s monitoring and evaluation officer Aleaster Masiyakurima. Participants at the Chitungwiza Publicity Center dialogues were also asked to think about questions such as:

‘Why focus on adolescents for issues of SRHR?’ and ‘What demographic would you focus on and why?’

FAWEZI focuses on adolescents because they are at risk of: lacking knowledge/resources, contracting STIs, sexual violence, and becoming pregnant. Participants also tackled issues of economic empowerment and personal grooming and how they relate to sexual health. Aveneni Mangombe from the Ministry of Health and Child Care led multiple exercises, such as defining SRH, unpacking what SRHR are, and asking an audience participant demonstrate and speak to the audience about what she calls the ‘don’t touch areas’.
Another participant memorably told the crowd that “We have a right to say no to sex and to uncomfortable touches”.


Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) Dialogues Part 1

On 11 February FAWEZI held two Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) dialogues, one at a Primary and one a Secondary School in the Chitungwiza District. We are holding a series of these sessions with adolescents in 10 schools total, with our target for this quarter being 5 schools. We spoke about puberty, stigma, discrimination, child abuse,and systems of reporting abuse with the primary school children. For the secondary school children we also spoke about grooming, and drug and substance abuse. The dialogue sessions were facilitated by Mrs P Manhivi from the Chitungwiza District Schools Inspectors Office. The most frequently asked questions were on menstrual management and protection after reporting any form of abuse. 

Zimbabwe National Council for the Welfare of Children Workshop

Programs Officer Blessing Chitanda gave welcome remarks during a workshop on ‘Strengthening civil society’s role in demanding for the protection and promotion of children’s rights in Zimbabwe’, organized by the Zimbabwe National Council for the Welfare of Children (ZNCWC). FAWEZI is the current board chair of ZNCWC Mashonaland Chapter.

Design for Change’s Be The Change Conference

FAWEZI is the Design for Change (DFC) Global Partner for Zimbabwe. The DFC ‘Be the Change’ (BTC) global gathering was held in Taiwan 30 November – 3 December and representative Jasmine Shirey attended on behalf of FAWEZI. She remained in Taiwan over the weekend to participate in BTC events and discussions and DFC workshops. The theme was ‘Together We Can.’ Children from all over the world presented on projects they thought up using the ‘Feel, Imagine, Do, Share’ (FIDS for KIDS) framework. In this coming year we will see Zimbabwean children unleashing the ‘I CAN’ mindset and presenting in Rome in front of Pope Francis. If you want to see Zimbabwean kids hit the stage next year, message us about partnering with DFC Zimbabwe.

African Youth Development Summit

FAWEZI representative Nqobile Nkiwane was invited to the African Youth Development Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa. She was part of the moderators during the drafting of the End Violence in Schools youth manifesto on 1 December, 2018. She also coordinated the group discussion on ‘Provide safe School facilities’. Her reflection piece follows:

We may be different as youth from all over the world, but at some points we are united by our interests, aspirations, and even issues. Such was my experience during the drafting of the End Violence in Schools Youth Manifesto, held in Johannesburg, during the African Youth Development Summit, which just ended this past Saturday.

Being one of the moderators, I had a good opportunity to converse up close with youths from different backgrounds and countries, and I noticed that despite their heterogeneous nature, the outcry for safe school environments bound them together. The issue of eliminating violence in schools is a worldwide problem as evidenced by the UNICEF global poll where young people between the ages of 13 and 24 were asked if they had ever felt afraid of violence in and around their schools. UNICEF received more than one million responses representing 160 countries, with 69% answering “yes.”

School-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) is widely spread around the world and is common in many societies. SRGBV can be loosely defined as acts or threats of sexual, physical or psychological violence happening in and around schools. This type of violence is due to gender norms and stereotypes. It can include verbal abuse, bullying, sexual abuse, harassment and other types of violence. Millions of children and families suffer from this type of violence. SRGBV affects every learner in different ways depending on their age, race, gender, sexual orientation, age and social status.

It is against such a background that UNICEF and other partners gathered youth advocates from all over the world and assisted them in drafting an #EndViolence Youth Manifesto. The manifesto drew content from overarching principles, the youth’s commitment, and their demands. The complete #Endviolence Youth Manifesto will be presented to Ministers at The Education World Forum in January 2019. The manifesto is part of a collective effort to #Endviolence in and around schools led by organizations including UNICEF, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), UNESCO, and others.

Setting aside the technicalities of the manifesto, the overall messages was ‘let us make safe school environments for everyone’. The school is a second home to the learners, teachers, and non-teaching staff. It is the place where they spend most of their time, and it is the place where they are most exposed to being victims, witnesses, or perpetrators of abuse.

This is the reason why the youth present at the drafting of the End Violence Manifesto made a call to the duty bearers, community members, and fellow youths, to prioritise addressing violence in schools. They suggested doing this by providing safe school facilities, sensitising teachers and students on violence, providing protection for every child, and teaching issues of diversity and tolerance, among others.

Eliminating violence in schools will be a step in attaining all the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, but with a specific focus to SDG 4: “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” and SGD5: “Gender Equality”. The elimination of violence in and around schools will increase access, retention, and completion of education amongst leaners at all levels. It is no surprise that the performance of leaners has proved to be much greater when they are exposed to a safe learning environment.

SRGBV will not be eliminated by the presentation of the manifesto alone. This social issue demands collective global efforts. It is everyone’s business. As a youth advocate, and someone who is already working on eliminating SRGBV in schools, I strongly believe that jointed efforts need to be made in laying out a clear picture of what SRGBV is. Communities and individuals need to acknowledge its existence, and understand and identify its effects, if we are going to come up with effective and sustainable solutions.

I am also happy to share that the organisation I work for, the Forum for African Women Educationalist — Zimbabwe chapter (FAWEZI), will be piloting a ‘Whole School Approach Model’ to combat SRGBV. The model is based on guidance published by the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI). This whole School Approach Model provides minimum standards to be achieved by schools in order to prevent SRGBV, and a monitoring framework to track progress. It is thus encouraging that I will be engaged in work that responds to the youths’ manifesto. The aim of FAWEZI’s pilot programme is to eliminate SRGBV by having the project schools achieve the eight ‘standards for a violence free school’ identified by UNGEI.

Lastly, I would like to encourage duty bearers, organisations, communities, and individuals to combine efforts in addressing SRGBV, as it affects everyone differently. To the youth I pledge my support in this work as we seek to create a future that will not tolerate SRGBV.

Guidance and counseling training workshop in Chitungwiza District

On 27 November FAWEZI supported a Guidance and Counseling training workshop for 101 teachers from selected schools in the Chitungwiza District .It was aimed at improving their capacity to deliver Guidance and Counselling .The training was done by representatives from the Chitungwiza Districts Schools Inspector’s Office. Topics for discussion included an overview of Guidance and Counselling framework in the schools, Child abuse and drug/substance abuse. Thank you Amplify Change for the support.

Second Phase SRHR Project Start up Workshop

FAWEZI held its second phase start up workshop on Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) in Harare on the 1st of September. Our aim was to engage teenagers in a discussion around the problems around SRHR and also listen to their proposed solutions so that we could map a way forward in our two year SRHR project to be implemented in Epworth and Chegutu.

The workshop was attended by Junior Parliamentarians who were instrumental in identifying the problems around SRHR for the youths who are in and out of school and also giving suggestions on the possible strategies to solve them. The Junior Parliamentarians confirmed that there is a lack of knowledge in the area of SRHR amongst the youth and also acknowledged that for those who are informed there is a tendency to ignore the information and indulge in pre-marital sex leading to early pregnancies, STI’s and HIV.

Child president, Tinaye Mbavari urged her fellow mates to make contributions so that a way forward could be mapped and lead to the reduction of early indulgence in sex by teens. “SRHR is the in thing, let’s all talk about it, let’s not be shy –speak out and make a difference,” she said. “It is a sensitive topic but let’s be open and fight rape, STI’s and HIV”.

There was a lively discussion between the young parliamentarians and the facilitators with the teens suggesting youth friendly means of packaging and delivering SRHR education. They also indicated that there is need to involve parents in such workshops so that they are also empowered to speak to their children on SRHR. Use of prominent people to educate the youth was also raised as a way of reaching out to the youth.

They said if musicians could be used to spread SRHR message most youths would comply as some tend to listen to their role models and celebrities. Above all the young leaders also said children need support in other abilities besides academic excellence so that those who are good in practical areas can also feel appreciated while in school and therefore reduce the risk of dropping out.

Youth friendly spaces were also applauded but the teens said they need the spaces to be better placed out of hospitals to avoid the stigma that surrounds being seen at a hospital.