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.