Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future PLUS (O3 PLUS) Regional conference on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and Comprehensive Sexuality Education will be held on 15 and 16 November 2022 in Great Zimbabwe University
Great Zimbabwe University and UNESCO are convening a hybrid - in person and virtual - conference on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) on 15-16 November 2022 in Great Zimbabwe University, Zimbabwe. This conference will be an opportunity to present research findings and contribute to share knowledge around evidence-based approaches to ensure students in Higher and Tertiary Institutions access quality CSE and SRHR services.
The Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future PLUS (O3 PLUS) is a project from UNESCO, implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Education and tertiary institutions, that seeks to ensure that young people in higher and tertiary education institutions in the East and Southern Africa region realize positive health, education, and gender equality outcomes through sustained reductions in new HIV infections, unintended pregnancy, and gender-based violence.
O3 PLUS Regional Project Officer, Daphnée Blanc stated, “There is a need to strengthen the evidence and knowledge around the effective strategies and best practices in programme implementation to maximize the impact of the O3 PLUS project. Research on strategies to improve the access to CSE and SRH services among tertiary students in Southern Africa is limited. Yet, sexuality education is key in achieving the universal targets for HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support as well as improving access to reproductive health services”
This conference will help generate a body of knowledge for a deeper understanding of HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and Gender-based violence (GBV) burden in Higher and Tertiary Institutions and the overall context for SRHR-related activity and service utilization.
In preparation for the conference, Great Zimbabwe University launched a call for abstracts in May 2022. This conference will help document the process of implementing the interventions, and to assess the acceptability, feasibility, and effectiveness of the project. This consultation is a unique opportunity for collaboration, networking and sharing knowledge among students, Higher and Tertiary Institutions staff and other stakeholders as they research on the themes of the O3 PLUS project. It helps build the capacity of academics, students, and their partners for better programming and SRHR and CSE services for students. Research findings will be published to serve as future reference material.
In the East and Southern Africa Region, UNESCO, with its O3 PLUS project, supports innovation in access to life skills-based sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health services for students while advocating for policy and practice changes to make campuses safe and inclusive learning environments. The O3 PLUS project aims to institutionalize health and well-being programs for students while engaging leadership for long-term commitment and sustainability.
This conference is an inspiration and a concrete tool to achieve the best results for the O3 PLUS project that works to enable students to reach their full educational potential and contribute more effectively to the development of their communities, countries and region as graduates, professionals, and young leaders.