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UNESCO Regional HIV and Health Team for Eastern and Southern Africa (RTESA) and the Swedish Regional Team on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (RTSRHR) will meet from the 27th to the 30th of June 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa to review a UNESCO led project that has been supported by Sweden since 2013.

The project entitled Strengthening sexual and reproductive health and HIV prevention amongst children and young people through promoting comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) in Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA), is currently being implemented in 21 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa.

During the course of implementation, the project has garnered high-level political support for comprehensive sexuality education in Eastern and Southern Africa and reached more than 26 million young people, teachers, parents and communities in the region through training and the mass media.

The review meeting will bring together various stakeholders including government officers from ministries of education and health, UNESCO National Program Officers, regional civil society organizations, faith-based organizations young people, and other UN agencies.

Some of the themes to be discussed and reflected upon include School-related gender-based violence, early and unintended pregnancy, comprehensive sexuality education, and youth friendly services. The meeting will also feature skills-building sessions on gender norms, community mobilization and how to engage faith communities.

Following the successful implementation of the project, discussions between UNESCO and Sweden are underway for a second phase. The phase entitled, “Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future” will reach 30 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa including those from West and Central Africa (Angola, Botswana, Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe).

For more information, please contact: p.machawira(at)unesco.org or r.shawa(at)unesco.org[:]

[:en]The Zambia Ministry of General Education hosted a 14 member Ugandan delegation for an exchange visit on sexuality education from 29th May to 2nd June 2017. The visit, which represented a rare opportunity for south-to-south learning, allowed Uganda and Zambia to learn from each other’s experiences on scaling up comprehensive sexuality education.

The Minister of General Education in Zambia, Honorable, Dr. Dennis Wanchinga commended the exchange visit and called for the continued exchange of ideas and experiences between Uganda and Zambia.

“It is important to learn from another country’s experience as this facilitates a shared experience which can be adopted and mainstreamed,” said Honorable, Dr. Dennis Wanchinga.

 

The Ugandan delegation, led by Executive Director for the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV and AIDS- Uganda (OAFLA-UG), Ms. Beat Bisangwa was composed of members of Parliament, senior officials from Ministry of Education and Sports, Ministry of Gender,  Uganda AIDS Commission and the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda.

The team had an opportunity to meet with stakeholders who were involved in the CSE scale up process including the Ministry of General Education in Zambia, Zambia Interfaith Networking Group (ZINGO), The National Assembly of Zambia, National AIDS Council, United Nations country team in Zambia and civil society organizations offering CSE and youth friendly services. The highlight of the mission was the visit to Kabulonga primary school, where delegates had the opportunity to sit in a Religious Education lesson. Religious Education is one of the carrier subjects for CSE in Zambia.

Central to the discussions was the process that Zambia took in integrating into the curriculum, and the school examinations and the approach to teacher training. Delegates were also keen to understand the partnerships forged in the development of the national sexuality education framework and the linkages between CSE information and access to sexual and reproductive health services.

Engagement of religious leaders stood out as an important factor in maintaining value systems and also to ensure that the sexuality framework is in accordance with a country’s cultural and religious values.

“Religion plays a critical role in shaping moral values of our young people,” said Ms. Julie Baratita- Esmeralda Acting Executive Director for Zambia Interfaith Networking Group (ZINGO).

“As such, engagement of religious institutions right from the outset facilitated the acceptance and understanding of the benefits of CSE for all young people. Working with religious leaders was also important as it allowed Zambia to reach out to parents, young people, and communities at large,” she added.

The head of the delegation, Ms. Beat Bisangwa, commended the exchange visit as having granted Uganda an opportunity to enrich the process of developing a National Sexuality Framework guided by national values. The Ugandan delegation committed to using the lessons drawn from the visit to inform the completion of the National Framework for Sexuality Education in Uganda, which will be presented to the Ugandan Parliament.

The exchange visit was made possible by support from UN agencies in Uganda and Zambia.[:]