UNESCO in partnership with UNFPA, SAfAIDS, and Save the Children Sweden launched the Let’s Talk! campaign on the 31st of July 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.Let’s Talk! is a social and behaviour change campaign to reduce early and unintended pregnancies (EUP) across 21 countries in the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) region, which has one of the highest adolescent fertility rates in the world. The campaign will be implemented until December 2020, and envisions an Eastern and Southern Africa region where all adolescents are empowered and have the knowledge, information, agency and support to prevent early and unintended pregnancy and reach their full potential

The campaign launch was attended by at least 150 participants from 13 countries across ESA region, which included the SADC PF Secretary General, South Africa Minister of Basic Education, Lesotho Minister of Education and Training, Zimbabwe Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, and other government officials from Ministry of Education and Health; #LetsTalkEUP Ambassador DJ Zinhle, Sida, Packard Foundation, UNESCO, UNFPA, SAfAIDS, Save the Children, and PCI Media representatives. Media practitioners from print and electronic media houses across the 13 countries also attended the launch.

The #LetsTalkEUP Ambassador, renowned DJ Zinhle, graced the stage at the launch and performed a song which she has produced exclusively for the campaign. The song features the campaign pillars of health, education and rights, within the context of EUP.  It will aim to engage and excite young people across the region, building upon DJ Zinhle’s immense popularity and appeal. 

The launch event overall introduced the campaign to the high-level stakeholders and raised awareness on the magnitude of EUP, as well as the need to implement preventative actions to address its devastating social and economic impacts, especially for the lives of adolescent girls and young women, but also men and boys and societies as a whole.

Speaking at the launch, UNESCO Regional Director, Professor Hubert Gijzen applauded governments for their dedication and commitment towards prioritising the lives of future generations. He called upon governments and other stakeholders to coordinate efforts in addressing Early and Unintended Pregnancy, as this is an issue that is compounded and affected by multiple factors including, policies, cultural practices, and the health and education systems.

The South Africa Minister of Basic Education, Honourable Angelina Motshekga emphasised that EUP has adverse impact on educational opportunities, achievements and future of adolescents, especially the girl child. She reiterated the need for coordinated efforts to accelerate progress in the prevention and management of EUP in the country as well as regionally. The “Let’s Talk!” campaign will continue to be rolled out at the country level in the coming weeks, including country-specific launch events across the ESA region

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.

On 17 July 2019 WFP, UNAIDS and UNESCO joined forces to honour the legacy of Nelson Mandela through a charitable act of kindness. As a way to commemorate Mandela Day 2019 collaboratively the agencies were able to collect a wide range of items for donation to the Frida Hartley Shelter ranging from clothing and toys. Mandela Day calls on us all, every day, to make the world a better place. This year’s theme for the International Mandela Day is #ActionAgainstPoverty.

Agency representatives from WFP, UNAIDS and UNESCO visited the Frida Hartley Shelter prior to the day of commemoration and met with Cheryl Hlabane, the centre Operations Manager who is doing a great job and needs support in many areas in addition to the pressing needs for the shelter such as food, toiletries and clothing.

The Frida Hartley Shelter aims to empower, educate and enhance the  intellectual capacity for homeless, displaced and/or abused women (and their  children) to improve their confidence so they can find employment,  start their own businesses and regain their dignity in society.

The shelter provides a home environment where women work together on domestic chores, cleaning, and cooking while receiving training and support to seek employment and independence. On average, women and their children stay at the shelter for 3 – 6 months, with many offering part-time volunteer support, and counselling once they have left the shelter. Over seven hundred women and children have been helped at the shelter. For more information on the shelter and how to assist click here.

UNESCO in partnership with World Council churches, Save the Children, UNFPA and Inerela organized a regional training of trainers for Religious Leaders on CSE and SRHR services for adolescents and young people from the 25th June to the 27th of June in Johannesburg South Africa. The training was attended by Religious leaders from the SADC region from different religious affiliations including Christian, Islam and Bahai faith.

There were moving and transformative sessions which dove into topics like comprehensive sexuality education, teen pregnancy, harmful and positive sexual behavior for adolescents and menstrual health management. One of the overarching themes of the training was “meeting young people where they are” and the importance of creating an environment in communities of inclusivity and trust. The religious leaders were able to give insight into the ways they currently engage adolescents in their communities on CSE and SRHR which gave good context that will be used on the evaluation of the content on the tool kit that has been developed for religious leaders on CSE and ASRH.

Since 2010, UNESCO and UN partners have been supporting the efforts of governments in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) to change the narrative for adolescents and young people through Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE). Following the successful implementation of the ESA Commitment, UNESCO is partnering with governments and other UN agencies in the acclaimed Our Lives, Our Rights, Our Future (O3)* program. O3 is expected to reach over 30 million adolescents and young people from across 31 countries in SSA.

On January 30, 2019, the Ministry of Education in Ghana hosted UNESCO and other UN partners, Ministries of Education and Health from across 14 SSA countries to launch the O3 program. O3 supports the delivery of good quality CSE that empowers adolescents and young people by building skills, knowledge and attitudes to prevent HIV, reduce early and unintended pregnancies and eliminate gender-based violence.

Africa’s youth are its future and most precious resource,” said Ms Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO. “Defending young women’s right to education is crucial both as a goal in and of itself, and as a means to better health and development outcomes. Knowledge protects. Risks [are high] if we do not address barriers to young people’s health and education.”

This South-South dialogue was also a platform for Ministers and senior government officials from across Sub-Saharan Africa to engage with UNESCO representatives, UN senior officials, partners, youth, Civil Society Organizations, educators, parents and religious leaders. Discussions revolved around sustaining political commitment to accelerate the implementation of CSE programs in the region.

“Since the ESA Commitment, significant progress has been achieved by most countries in developing political and policy support for CSE and reaching out to young people, educators, parents and community leaders,” said Mr Hubert Gijzen, UNESCO Regional Director for Southern Africa. “Zambia, for example, has been able to attain an almost full-scale implementation of CSE.”

Speaking at the Launch ceremony, Ghana’s Minister for Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh noted the timeliness of the program.

“Despite some strides in CSE in different countries, there is more crucial work to be done in order to ensure that our adolescents and young people learn in a safer environment that will contribute to quality and better educational outcomes,” said Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh.

Learning from ESA experiences, West and Central African countries are working towards securing a similar political commitment by 2020.

*Through the support of the governments of Sweden and Ireland, the O3 Programme builds on current efforts by UNESCO to improve sexual and reproductive health, as well as gender and education outcomes for adolescents and young people.

For more information on UNESCO’s work on health education, please visit https://en.unesco.org/themes/education-health-and-well-being

For information on the O3 program, please contact Amina Lahbabi a.lahbabi@unesco.org

Follow #CSEandMe and #O3Campaign to see more of what we do!www.youngpeopletoday.org

Accra, Ghana, 28 January 2019 – Over 20 Ministers of Education and of Health will meet in Accra to officially launch a programme that will support delivery of good quality comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) in Ghana and five other countries on the continent. The officials will also meet to commit to scaling up comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) and youth friendly sexual and reproductive health rights services for adolescent and young people.

The Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future (O3) Programme, supported by UNESCO and the Governments of Sweden and Ireland, will allow the six countries, including Ghana, to deepen the scope of existing activities to attain an almost full-scale implementation of CSE. The purpose is to improve sexual and reproductive health of young people and adolescents for a consistent reduction in new HIV infections, early and unintended pregnancy, gender-based violence, and child marriage.

The meeting in Ghana will enable a secured and sustained strong political commitment and support for adolescents’ and young people’s access to CSE and sexual and reproductive health services across sub-Saharan Africa among others.

DATE: Wednesday, 30 January 2019

TIME: 9a.m. (Journalists are to be seated at 9:30 a.m.)

VENUE: Alisa Hotel, Accra

SPEAKERS:

The Director General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay

Minister of Health, Ghana, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu

Minister of Education, Ghana, Hon. Matthew Opoku Prempeh

Media Contact:

Ms Cynthia Prah

UN Information Centre, Accra

Tel: 055 678 3033 Email: prah@un.org

Harare, Zimbabwe – The David and Lucile Packard Foundation has granted a sum of $100,000 towards UNESCO’s efforts to reduce Early and Unintended Pregnancy (EUP) in the East and Southern Africa region. The grant will allow for the EUP campaign to contribute to this goal, highlighting the causes and, raising awareness on the consequences of EUP and reducing stigma towards pregnant girls as well as advocating for improved delivery of comprehensive sexuality education and access to services for adolescents and young people in the ESA region.

The campaign was officially launched on 20th June 2018 during the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Ministers of Education Meeting in Durban, South Africa and will run until December 2020.

The campaign takes place within the context of the ESA Ministerial Commitment Initiative, whose overall goal is to ensure that adolescents and young people in sub-Saharan African (SSA) are empowered, educated, healthy and resilient and, have the capacity to reach their full potential and contribute to the development of their community, country and region.

The campaign is aimed at reducing and preventing early and unintended pregnancy and affording girls who get pregnant an opportunity to continue with their education.

Specifically, the campaign will;

  • Advocate for the development and operationalization of EUP prevention, management and re-entry policies to facilitate the right of girls to complete education.
  • Advocate for the integration of CSE content on access to contraceptives, gender equality and power dynamics within relationships in developing the learners’ and adolescent girls’ knowledge and skills to prevent pregnancy.
  • Promote adolescents and young peoples’ access to health education and services (incl. contraception) by advocating for the establishment of referral system between schools and health facilities.
  • Raise awareness on the dangers of unsafe abortions among adolescent girls and young women and mobilize advocacy action to remove legal and policy barriers to safe abortions for all women.

UNESCO is a specialized UN agency leading work on health and well-being for children and young people within the formal, non-formal and informal education sectors. UNESCO will partner with SAfAIDS, UNFPA and Save the Children in implementing the campaign. Financial support for the campaign will come from Packard Foundation, Government of Sweden through the Regional Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) team in Lusaka, Zambia and, the Government of Ireland through Irish Aid.

UNESCO launched a campaign to reduce Early and Unintended Pregnancy (EUP) in Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) on 20th June 2018 during the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Ministers of Education Meeting in Durban, South Africa.

The launch of the campaign is part of the ESA Ministerial commitment, which was endorsed in December 2013 by Ministers of Education and Health in the ESA region. The commitment has prompted significant progress by Member States to address the needs of adolescents and young people with respect to ensuring access to life skills-based HIV and sexuality education and youth-friendly SRH services. One of the targets of the ESA Commitment was to reduce EUP by 75% by the year 2020. In the 2017 Technical Coordination Group (TCG) meeting of the ESA Commitment, countries agreed to focus on the issue of EUP as an area requiring intervention across all countries and there was a clear recommendation to launch a Regional EUP campaign. Following this recommendation, UNESCO commissioned a situation analysis on EUP in 10 countries in ESA to assess the magnitude of the problem in the region. The study revealed that EUP in ESA is very high with at least 15% of 15-19 year olds ever having been pregnant.

Ministers at the launch of the campaign were invited to approve the recommendations from the situation analysis while renewing their commitment to attainment of the ESA commitment targets. In addition, to mandate country ESA Technical working groups to strengthen implementation and reporting of country progress and to commission the SADC Secretariat and its partners to support implementation of a Regional Campaign on Early and Unintended Pregnancy.

Based on the findings of the situational analysis, the campaign will have the following objectives,

  1. Advocate for the right of girls to complete education through the development and operationalisation of EUP prevention, management and re-entry policies.
  2. Advocate for the delivery of CSE that develops learners’ knowledge and skills to prevent pregnancy through integrating content on pregnancy prevention, access to contraceptives, gender equality and power dynamics within relationships.
  3. Increase adolescent access to health education and services (incl. contraception) through establishment of referral system between schools and health facilities.
  4. Eliminate school related gender based violence and engage boys and young men in learning and practicing pregnancy prevention.
  5. Shift cultural norms that put girls at risk of EUP and promote parent-child communication about sexual health

The findings from the situation analysis are summarised in the following video, which was also played during the launch of the campaign.

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.

15 June, 2018 – Harare, Zimbabwe
40 Master Trainers from Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania, as well as national partner, regional and global organisations,  have been involved in a workshop to adapt and pilot the Connect with Respect Tool in the four countries, aiming to end School-Related Gender Based Violence (SRGBV). The tool is a result of experience sharing by the Global Working Group to end SRGBV, with the partnership of UNESCO and UNGEI, sharing specific lessons from a classroom programme for early secondary school level entitled, Connect with Respect: Preventing gender‐based violence in schools that was developed for Asia and Pacific teachers to help them deal with SRGBV in their local context and to teach secondary grade students to understand the causes and effects of gender‐based violence, and thereby, to develop their skills for building respectful relationships.

The workshop that took place in Harare, Zimbabwe from 11 to 15 June 2018 came as a result of analysis and consultations on the situation of SRGBV in the ESA region in March 2017. Hosted by UNESCO, countries in the region examined entry points based on existing SRGBV prevention and response efforts within the education sector. In addition, activities in the Connect-With-Respect-Tool were reviewed within the context of East and Southern Africa, paving the way for the Master of Trainers workshop to pilot the tool in the region.

The workshop in Harare, Zimbabwe sought to provide an opportunity for education systems in the region to deploy a well‐developed, evidence informed resource for use in classroom prevention education, and for schools to participate in research trials, which will help to provide knowledge about impact and effectiveness. Particularly, the workshop aimed to:

  • Provide a tailored version of Connect-with-Respect tool,
  • Investigate whether Connect with Respect produces positive changes in knowledge, attitudes
    and behaviour,
  • Collect regional data on effective programming, informing future investments by the education
    systems in the prevention of SRGBV,
  • Develop the capacity of the region to deliver and evaluate educational programs, and
  • Encourage and enable education systems to provide SRGBV education to schools.

The workshop Master Trainers participating in the workshop included education officials and teacher training experts who are expected to work as multipliers by extending training and technical support to teachers, head teachers and district education officials in pilot schools on the Connect-with-Respect tool.

The workshop was delivered by trainers from the Graduate School of Education Youth Research Centre at the University of Melbourne, Australia, as well as from the four pilot countries. The training content focused on;

  • Understanding the patterns of GBV,
  • Raising Awareness about GBV,
  • Skills needed for positive gender relationships, and
  • Using a whole‐school approach to positive gender relations.

As follow-up, Ministries of Education (MoE) in the four piloting countries are expected to take the leading role in facilitating Connect with Respect trial activities. MoEs will work with UNESCO to identify their needs to meet all requirements of the pilot exercise.