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Government officials from ministries of education and health from 20 countries in the Eastern and Southern Africa met from 18 and 19 June 2018 in Pretoria, South Africa to review the East and Southern Africa (ESA) Commitment progress. The meeting brought together core members of the technical coordinating group, select civil society organisations (CSO) at country and regional levels, United Nations, SADC PF, and development partners.

The Technical Coordinating Group (TCG), under the leadership of UNESCO and UNFPA, with support from UNAIDS, the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the East African Community (EAC) Secretariats, plays a key role in the management of the ESA Commitment process and the implementation of the accountability mechanism. Each year, a TCG face-to-face meeting is held to discuss implementation and progress towards ESA Commitment targets.

Speaking at the meeting, UNESCO Regional Director for Southern Africa, Prof. Hubert Gijzen, and his UNFPA counterpart for Eastern and Southern Africa Region, Dr. Julitta Onabanjo, applauded governments for their commitment, and called on the stakeholders to begin looking at post 2020 plans when the Commitment is meant to expire. They emphasised the need to accelerate efforts in providing CSE, and access to SRHR services for adolescents and young people.

This year’s TCG meeting focused on dialogue, debates and interactions, particularly on sharing the ‘how’ of HIV and Health Education and youth friendly health services provision. It highlighted tangible regional and national actions needed in the spirt of the Step Up and Deliver 2020 Roadmap. Moreover, in 2017, the TCG commissioned the CSO Platform to produce a regional report on the implementation of the ESA Commitment, looking at issues of accountability, coordination, resources, and youth leadership. The report formed the framework for discussion at the TCG. The meeting also agreed on the roll-out of the proposed early and unintended pregnancy campaign resulting from a situational analysis, which was commissioned in 2017.

Juba, South Sudan – The Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ministry of General Education and Instruction (MOGEI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for The Right to Health for the Education Sector Campaign with South Sudan HIV/AIDS Commission (SSAC) and UNAIDS.

The signatories were Dr. Riak Gai, the Minister of Health; Dr. Nadia Dudi, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports and who signed on behalf of the education Minister Mr. Deng Deng; Dr. Esterina Novello, Chairperson of SSAC; and Mr. Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of UNAIDS. The United Nations Representative, Mr. Alain Noudehou and the UNESCO Representative to South Sudan, Mr. Sardar Umar Alam were among those that participated in the event.

The purpose of the MOU is to enhance cooperation between the two ministries, SSAC and the Joint UN Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) to collaboratively develop and implement a strategy in line with the UNAIDS Fast Track Strategy, Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) Ministerial Commitment on Comprehensive Sexuality Education and Sexual Reproductive Health, including tuberculosis, malaria and hepatitis in the education sector.

The Executive Director of UNAIDS, Mr. Michel Sidibe is in the country to meet with the political leadership to advocate for resources and support for the HIV response in the current humanitarian situation in South Sudan. Mr. Sidibe noted that the education sector is critical in the HIV response as it provides access to information on prevention, treatment and reduction on the impact of the disease.

He further recommended to reduce stigma and discrimination which deters people seeking and utilising HIV services.

According MOH, only 32% of people living with HIV (PLHIV) in the country know their HIV status while only 14% of them are on treatment. These rates are extremely low as per the UNAIDS treatment for all strategy which targets 90%.

According to UNAIDS 2016 estimates, 40% of the 16,000 annual HIV infection were among young people aged 15-24 years. Close to 60% of the new infections are among females and also have higher records of deaths compared to males. However, while AIDS-related deaths declined by 1% between 2010 and 2016 among girls and women, there was an increment by 12% among boys and men. About 70% of PLHIV on treatment are women.

The MOU is anchored on the ESA Ministerial Commitment on Comprehensive Sexuality Education and Sexual Reproductive Health for adolescents and young people which was endorsed 8 December 2013 by 20 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa including South Sudan.

Since 2013, education managers have collaborated with partners to integrate CSE into the national curriculum, developed learners’ and teachers’ materials, sensitised community on CSE through media and supported the training of over 500 in-service teachers.

Meanwhile the MOH, is currently reviewing the Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health Strategy with partners to ensure that critical areas are integrated into community programmes such as the Boma Health Initiative. The Boma Health Initiative provides for sustainable delivery of essential health care and public health programmes at the community level.

UNESCO is one of the key stakeholders in delivering CSE in the country.  This ground-breaking event demonstrates national commitment by the two ministries and partners as well as a promising coordinated response to step up efforts to realise the 2020 targets stipulated in the aforementioned ESA Ministerial Commitment.

The targets include increasing access to CSE and SRH services. It proposes to eliminate gender-based violence, child marriage and all new HIV infections amongst adolescents and young people. It also stipulates commitment to reduce teenage pregnancies by 75% as well as increase comprehensive knowledge of HIV prevention among young people.

South Africa is among 31 countries that will benefit from the UNESCO O3 Programme on comprehensive sexuality education (CSE). The regional programme entitled, “Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future” is a three year (2018-2020) programme which aims to contribute towards reductions in new HIV infections, early and unintended pregnancies, gender based violence and child marriages.

South Africa is among the focus countries for this programme together with Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda. Networking countries include Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Chad, Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, South Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Funded by Sweden and Ireland to the tune of about US$10 million, the programme builds on the achievements of the landmark 2013 East and Southern Africa Ministerial Commitment, which has been instrumental in scaling-up comprehensive sexuality education and access to sexual and reproductive health services for young people. It will also share lessons and lay the basis for a similar political commitment in West and Central Africa in order to accelerate the implementation of CSE in that region.

As part of the programme, Sweden’s Minister of Education, Honourable Gustav Fridolin visited South Africa from 12-13 January 2018 to raise political attention to young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, including young people’s access to comprehensive sexuality education. Other delegates who were part of the mission to South Africa include the Ghanaian Deputy Minister of Education Ms Barbara Asher, the SADC Secretariat, and senior government officials from Cote d’Ivoire and Swaziland.

During his visit, the Minister attended a youth dialogue on teen pregnancy in Johannesburg to create a better understanding of challenges faced by young people when they fall pregnant. At the end of the dialogue, there was a strong recommendation to bring parents on-board with regards to CSE and engagement of other sectors such as the religious sector. The Minister then had another dialogue with religious leaders in Pretoria that looked at the role of communities and religious leaders in CSE delivery.

He also attended a high-level policy dialogue on CSE organised by the Department of Basic Education in Pretoria.  The dialogue renewed participants’ understanding and engagement on CSE implementation across Sub-Saharan Africa. Ministerial collaboration to promote school and health facility linkages were also discussed.

The O3 programme will support the delivery of good quality CSE that empowers adolescents and young people, while developing the skills, knowledge, attitudes, and competencies needed to sustain positive education, health and gender equality outcomes. Between 2018 and 2020, the O3 programme will reach 10.7 million learners in 45 000 primary and secondary schools, 30 000 pre-service teachers and 186 000 in service teachers. An additional 30 million people (parents, guardians, religious leaders, and young people out of school) will be reached through community engagement activities and 10 million young people through social and new media platforms.

UNESCO, UNAIDS, UNFPA and the government of Cote d’Ivoire hosted a session on the Revised International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education (ITGSE). This session took place on the side lines of the 2017 International Conference on AIDS and Sexuality Transmitted Infection’s in Africa (ICASA).

The session was moderated by Dr Catherine Sozi, UNAIDS Director of the Regional Support Team for Eastern and Southern Africa (RTESA) and graced by Honourable Kandia Camara –  Cote d’Ivoire Minister of National Education & Technical Education, Honourable Mokhele Moletsane – Lesotho Minister of Education & Training, Honourable Michael Lopuke Lotyam – South Sudan Undersecretary of General Education and Instruction and Ms Lorence Kabasele – African Youth and Adolescents Networking on Population and Development (AfriYAN) President for Eastern and Southern Africa.

During the session, UNESCO underscored the importance of comprehensive sexuality education, and acknowledged the Guidance as a means to address and dispel myths and misconceptions around comprehensive sexuality education (CSE). It was noted that the ITGSE incorporates new evidence on the benefits of CSE for health and education outcomes of children and young people. Further, the revised version speaks to issues of a changing world such as ICTs and social media as avenues through which CSE can be taught to young people and adolescents; and shows how CSE is not only limited to the formal school setting but also extends to non-formal settings which involve community engagement from the parents to the cultural and religious leaders.

[:en]Today marks World AIDS Day. Every year, December 1st is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection.

According to UNICEF there were 2.1 million adolescents (10–19 years) living with HIV in 2013, 80% of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa, and many of whom still do not know their HIV status.

We believe  that young people deserve adequate information and health services to prevent the spread of HIV. Take a stand today and help us spread the word![:pt]Hoje é marcado o Dia Mundial da SIDA. Todos os anos, o dia 1 de dezembro é dedicado a sensibilizar as pessoas para a pandemia da SIDA causada pela propagação da infeção do VIH.

Segundo a UNICEF havia 2.5 milhões de adolescentes (10-19 anos) a viver com o VIH em 2013, 80% dos quais vivem na África subsaariana, e muitos dos quais ainda não sabem do seu estatuto de portadores de VIH.

Acreditamos que os jovens merecem informações e serviços de saúde adequados para prevenir a propagação do VIH. Manifeste-se hoje e ajude-nos a espalhar a mensagem![:fr]Aujourd’hui est un jour marqué par la Journée Mondiale du Sida. Chaque année, le 1er Décembre est consacré à la sensibilisation à la pandémie du sida causée par la propagation de l’infection au VIH.

Selon l’UNICEF, il y avait 2,1 millions d’adolescents (10-19 ans) atteints du VIH en 2013, dont 80% vivant en Afrique sub-saharienne, et beaucoup d’entre eux ne connaissent toujours pas leur statut de séropositif.

Nous croyons que les jeunes méritent des services adéquats d’information et de santé pour prévenir la propagation du VIH. Prenez position aujourd’hui et aidez- nous à faire passer le message.[:]

Every two years, the Ministry of Culture organizes the National Cultural Festival in the province of Inhambane in Mozambique. The festival hosts domestic and international artists, cultural agents, and practitioners for a weeklong celebration of diversity. This year, the festival took place from the 13th to 20th of August and included HIV/AIDS awareness workshops that were jointly organized by UNESCO and UNFPA and led by Associação Coalizão da Juventude Moçambicana.

By focusing on scaling up Comprehensive Sexuality Education and capacity building in Eastern and Southern Africa, the workshops provided participants access to high quality sexuality education, increasing their knowledge on sexual and reproductive health and rights. About 50 young people attended each workshop, which were led by Associação Coalizão da Juventude Moçambicana, an NPO that works in the area of Sexual and Reproductive Health for adolescents and youth, and whose focus is primarily on young girls, HIV/AIDS and gender issues.

“The workshops raised awareness on various issues of Sexual and Reproductive Health and on emerging issues related to HIV and AIDS prevention. Sessions were interactive and encouraged participants to make confident and educated decisions about their sexual health. Young people learned and practiced how to use both male and female condoms and were able to speak freely and contribute to discussions,” said Angelina Tivane with UNESCO.

“The Festival provided an opportunity to host these important workshops on Comprehensive Sexuality Education. The sessions highlighted important issues that directly effect young people in Mozambique, issues such as sexuality and reproductive health and HIV and AIDS prevention.”

The National Cultural Festival showcases the contemporary and ethnic heritage of Mozambique, as well as the commitment of the State to cultural diversity and to programmes, such as Comprehensive Sexuality Education. Going forward, a level of collaboration and innovation with other sectors, such as industry, commerce and finance, will further solidify the country’s commitment to the economy of cultural production, but also national development.