Media practitioners from print and electronic media houses across 13 countries in East and Southern Africa (ESA) are making concerted efforts to tackle Early and Unintended Pregnancy (EUP) in the region. This builds on from a 3-day training organized by UNESCO from the 29th to the 31st of July in Johannesburg, as well as other initiatives. The overall objective of the training was to equip the practitioners with skills to report on early and unintended pregnancy (EUP, promote EUP reportage onto the media agenda; and to come up with an EUP media practitioners community of practice.

In order to amplify efforts to reduce EUP, UNESCO partnered with UNFPA, SAfAIDS and Save the Children Sweden and developed a multimedia campaign, which will be implemented across 21 countries the region until December 2020. The campaign, branded  “Let’s Talk!”, was launched on the 31st of July, and will continue to be rolled out at the country level in the coming weeks, including country-specific launch events across the ESA region.

One of the key goals for the campaign is to be inclusive and bring together different audiences for conversations and collaborative action. In order to achieve this goal, the media practitioners will increasingly play a crucial role in raising awareness on EUP through various media platforms including print, television and radio, and overall creating space for different audiences to engage and dialogue on core issues in addressing EUP. In order to showcase acquired skills and strengthened capacities, a number of the media practitioners published articles on EUP as well as the launch.

Speaking at the meeting, UNESCO Regional HIV and Health Education Advisor (ESA), Dr. Patricia Machawira emphasized that preventing EUP is an important component of a wider response to ensuring the right to education for all girls. UNESCO advocates for countries to provide CSE that develops learners’ knowledge and skills to prevent pregnancy and make healthy and informed decisions about their sexual lives. Good quality CSE integrates content on pregnancy prevention, gender equality, power dynamics within relationships and preventing gender-based violence.

The 3-day training concluded with the media practitioners formulating clear roadmaps on how media will be utilized to support the Let’s Talk campaign at country level, and overall raise awareness on EUP.

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