O3+ Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future
This project uses targeted interventions in post-secondary educational institutions in Zambia and Zimbabwe to improve access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) among 18-24 year-olds. Working with UNESCO and Ministries of Higher and Tertiary Education, the project brings Switzerland’s lengthy experience in the HIV/SRHR field to bear by targeting an often neglected cohort of young people with tailored interventions to reduce HIV infections, unintended pregnancies, and gender-based violence.
Southern African Development Community (SADC)
Reproductive health & rights
Sexual & gender-based violence
- Schweizerische UNESCO-Kommiss
In Zambia and Zimbabwe, tertiary institutions—including universities, colleges, technical and vocational training schools, and other post-secondary institutions—are home to over 582’000 young adults, mostly from the lower middle class of society. These young adults are contending with transactional sex, abuse, peer pressure and other challenges on their own for the first time, often with detrimental consequences that cut deeply across gender lines. These tertiary institutions do not offer a comprehensive health approach that encompasses the SRHR needs of students and only a few have fully functional and equipped clinics. Those that do offer SRHR services struggle with uptake issues (opening hours, commodity shortages, confidentiality concerns, etc.). The situation has only been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and its many ripple effects.
|Objectives||To achieve a sustained decline in new HIV infections, unintended pregnancies, and gender based violence among 18-24 year-olds in Zambia and Zimbabwe.|
- 135’318 students in 24 tertiary institutions in Zambia and Zimbabwe, who will benefit from improved HIV/SRHR services and safer campus environments
- Government ministries, which are involved in project decisions, positively influencing the development and implementation of better SRHR and GBV prevention policies.
- Users of any SRHR-related mobile applications the project may generate;
- Young people in relationships with tertiary students;
- Students in other tertiary institutions
- Colleagues of graduates, as well as the wider communities in which graduates live, as newfound knowledge and behaviours are brought to bear in their new environments
- Stakeholders across the higher education sector as lessons learnt are shared nationally and across SADC member countries
- Institutionalised commitment to inclusive policies, guidelines and accountability mechanisms for the promotion and protection of students with a focus on CSE, gender based violence (GBV) and SRHR;
- Improved equitable access to quality SRHR, GBV and HIV services and information for students in supportive and safe campus environments;
- Reduced rates of HIV infection and unwanted pregnancies among tertiary students;
- Increased evidence base for CSE/SRHR needs in colleges and effective approaches within tertiary institutions;
- Enhanced utilisation of acquired knowledge, skills and agency to make informed decisions and positive actions by tertiary students.
1 compulsory CSE module institutionalised in all participating tertiary institutions
1 technical working group established per institution; 1 national working group established per country, and 1 regional steering committee established
22 on campus health clinics and their immediate, physical environment and facilities improved
1 scorecard developed per institution and utilised to improve delivery of health services
72 health care providers and 48 peer counsellors trained to provide quality SRHR
CSE messages delivered through two podcasts per year, and through radio and other formats/platforms once each month
1 campaign on sexual harassment and GBV implemented twice a year per institution
Complaint pathways and whistle-blower mechanisms developed and/or enhanced for each institution
1 mobile application developed
Results from previous phases:
Baseline reached 3’876 students
- 19 of the selected tertiary institutions incorporate some form of sexuality education in their policies and guidelines (Zambia 11 & Zimbabwe 8); Ten have policies that are inclusive of young people with disabilities and LGBTIQ (5 in each country).
-48'295 students reached with accurate, rights based CSE (Zambia 27% of 60’419 & Zimbabwe 42.7% of 74’899); 53’104 students aged 20-24 have been tested for HIV in the last 12 months (Zambia 23’744 & Zimbabwe 29'360).
- 19 tertiary institutions have rules and guidelines for staff and students related to GBV including sexual harassment (Zambia 11 & Zimbabwe 8).
- 75.4% and 63.2% of female students in Zambia and Zimbabwe respectively who have experienced unintended pregnancy.
- 23.3% and 13.8% of female students in Zambia and Zimbabwe respectively who experienced a form of sexual and/or gender based violence.
|Directorate/federal office responsible||
International or foreign NGO
United Nations Organization (UNO)
|Coordination with other projects and actors||SADC Secretariat; SADC Member States; other SDC partners (MiET Africa, UNFPA); SDC Global Programme Health; SDC Education network|
|Budget||Current phase Swiss budget CHF 7’655’500 Swiss disbursement to date CHF 2’597’703|