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OVERVIEW OF THE FUNCTIONS OF THE POST

Introduction

Over the last decade, countries in the East and Southern African (ESA) region have taken major strides towards the development and incorporation of life skills education (LSE) and comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) in their school curricula. These strides have been made to counter the threat of HIV and other STIs; help protect girls against early and unintended pregnancy; provide young people with the necessary skills to develop effective decision-making and communication skills; explore values and attitudes and raise awareness of risk reduction skills.

Evidence shows that effective comprehensive sexuality education programmes consistently increase student knowledge about HIV and other health issues, delay age of sexual debut, and increase use of contraception including condoms by young people. Effective HIV and sexuality education requires the capacity and guidance of highly skilled and motivated educators.

Get more information on the post here : https://careers.unesco.org/job/Harare-Call-for-Application-UPDATING-THE-CSE-ONLINE-COURSE-FOR-TEACHERS-AND-PRACTITIONERS/519177002/

1. INTRODUCTION

Over the last decade, countries in the East and Southern African (ESA) region have taken major strides towards the development and incorporation of life skills education (LSE) and comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) in their school curricula. These strides have been made to counter the threat of HIV and other STIs; help protect girls against early and unintended pregnancy; provide young people with the necessary skills to develop effective decision-making and communication skills; explore values and attitudes and raise awareness of risk reduction skills.

Evidence shows that effective comprehensive sexuality education programmes consistently increase student knowledge about HIV and other health issues, delay age of sexual debut, and increase use of contraception including condoms by young people. Effective HIV and sexuality education requires the capacity and guidance of highly skilled and motivated educators. The International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education (UNESCO, 2018) argues, for example, that these teachers need appropriate training, skills in the use of participatory methods and ongoing support. The UNFPA Operational Guidance for Comprehensive Sexuality Education: A Focus on Human Rights and Gender (2014) articulates that effective CSE calls for an explicit mainstreaming of gender throughout all aspects of CSE and a focus on sexual and reproductive rights as components of human rights. This means that young people have a right to scientifically accurate information, bodily integrity and a right to access sexual and reproductive health services.

One of the key tasks facing Ministries of Education in the region is how to conduct effective pre-service and in-service teacher training and sustain a program of on-going in-service refresher training and mentoring. Effective training first has to have an impact on the teachers themselves, helping them examine their own attitudes toward sexuality, gender and behaviors regarding HIV prevention. They need to understand the content they are teaching, learn participatory teaching skills, and gain confidence to discuss sensitive and controversial topics in a non-judgmental and rights-based manner. Teacher training needs the support of national ministries, local school management, and local communities. It should also build on teacher training efforts for countries implementing a Life Skills curriculum as interactive teaching methods are essential for Comprehensive Sexuality Education. Teachers need support after the initial training and need to be willing and motivated to teach reproductive health and HIV issues. Teacher training should emphasize the need for a safe and appropriate learning environment, which reflects the learning content. This would include gender equality in the school environment and a policy of zero tolerance for sexual exploitation of students.

School settings provide an important opportunity to reach large numbers of young people with sexuality education before they become sexually active, as well as offering an appropriate structure within which to do so systematically over time. Teachers remain central to the process given their critical role in delivering sexuality education and with the right knowledge, skills and comfort levels for effectively delivery of sexuality education help to ensure that learners receive accurate and age- appropriate information. This information guides the learners through adolescence and enables them to make responsible decisions that impact their current and future sexual and reproductive health and overall well-being.

2. ABOUT THE CURRENT COURSE

As part of the ESA Ministerial Commitment for scaling up Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in the region, UNESCO, UNFPA, Johns Hopkins University/HC3 and the Foundation for Professional Development collaborated to design and implement an in-service teacher training course on sexuality education. Ministries of education from across 21 ESA countries and the SADC and EAC Secretariats are key partners in the course. The online course is currently hosted and implemented by the Foundation for Professional Development (FPD) and Medical Practice Consulting (MPC) under the leadership of FPD.

This online training course on sexuality education was designed for teachers in the Eastern and Southern Africa Region who have the responsibility for teaching Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) to learners. Specifically, the online course was created to contribute to the following regional outcomes:

  • Increased number of teachers in the Eastern and Southern Africa Region who are qualified to teach sexuality education;
  • Strengthened capacity of ministries of education to provide education and training for teachers to teach sexuality and HIV education lessons in the classrooms;
  • Improved quality of school-based sexuality and HIV education programs – evidence informed and effective to reduce risky behaviours amongst school-going youth; and
  • Improved learner knowledge and health-seeking behaviours for sexual and reproductive health and rights achievement and related life skills.

This online course was developed as an accessible resource to support the training of teachers and other educators to deliver school-based sexuality education in East and Southern Africa. For many countries in the ESA region, the capacity and performance of teachers in delivering comprehensive sexuality curricula remains a significant implementation challenge. Sexuality-related topics can be culturally and religiously sensitive. Teachers may live and work in areas that require a great deal of travel and resources in order to obtain professional development and support. If teachers are to empower the young people in their care with the potentially life-saving knowledge, they will need to be competent and comfortable to deliver the information that life skills based comprehensive sexuality education offers. The course was created online to be as accessible to as many educators in the ESA region as possible.

2.1 Current course modalities

Initially, the course was administered mainly through distance learning, where teachers could take in in the comfort of their environment. But as the course was rolled out, it became clear that completion rates were significantly low, and teachers faced challenges such as lack of access to computers and internet. The modality was then tweaked, and teachers would be asked to convene in person at one place, go through some value clarification, be provided with computers and internet, be assisted with registering for the course, and also be given an opportunity for teach-backs. Currently, the course consists of three main learning components, namely the face to face component, the distance learning, and the mentorship and support supervision component

2.2 Who is this course for?

This course targets teachers and other educators across Eastern and Southern Africa who need to obtain or update their knowledge and related skills on comprehensive sexuality education, and who are actively involved or intend to be involved in the delivery of sexuality education in the region. It will also be made available for other professionals such health services providers, who require adequate SRHR knowledge to perform their job.

2.3 The overall course goal

The overall course goal is to support effective implementation of life skills based/life orientation curriculum by equipping teachers with knowledge and skills related to the delivery of age appropriate, human rights and gender-based-comprehensive sexuality education in schools through the use of ICT.

  1. Course objectives

By the end of the online course, the teachers and educators should be able to:

  • Provide accurate information and knowledge on sexuality education, its importance and benefits;
  • Acknowledge how personal values, beliefs, biases can influence the teaching of sexuality education and the importance of not asserting one’s beliefs and biases onto learners;
  • Use the knowledge and skills acquired to deliver an effective life skills-based sexuality education in participatory, culturally sensitive and age-appropriate ways; and
  • Demonstrate the willingness to teach on different CSE-related content.

2.5 Course duration

The online course can be accomplished in about 40 hours depending on the pace of the participant which is an equivalent of 4 -5 days. Participants are however not allowed to undertake the course for more than 3 months from the time they have been enrolled on the course.

3. RATIONALE FOR REVISING THE COURSE

Two reviews commissioned by UNESCO revealed some gaps in both the content and the design of the course. It is based on the findings of the reviews that a revision of both content and design is required. Below are the main recommendations from the aforementioned reviews:

  1. Course Content Gaps
  1. There is a need to focus on topics such as gender discrimination, sexual and gender-based violence, HIV and AIDS, and harmful traditional practices. As with all curricula, CSE must be delivered in accordance with national laws and policies.
  2. The significance of peer pressure in adolescents’ lives needs to be strengthened as it influences adolescents behaviour.
  3. Gendering of behaviour and disability, and how these impact on body image and relationships is necessary
  4. Coon body image and sexuality needs to be strengthened
  5. Expansion of relationships beyond intimate relationships focusing on family and other societal relationships in life as it relates or links to adolescents’ sexuality education curricula
  6. Adolescents rights, values and responsibilities to be strengthened in the course content.

3.2 Course Design Gaps

  1. The course needs to outline the prerequisite skills and tools for the targeted audience of the course.
  2. The design of the course needs to be in sync with the pedagogical approaches to be used in the facilitation of the course in the blended learning environment
  3. Revision of course content to ensure that it is creative and engaging ensuring content is broken down into manageable multimedia
  4. Knowledge shares feature to be strengthened to ensure that it allows for deeper reflection in the learning process

The above gaps identified from content and course design perspectives make it critical that the current course content be reviewed to strengthen the CSE online course. This process will require that the consultant (subject expert) continuously liaises with the IT expert developing the online platform. This will facilitate the seamless content and online LMS for effective learning. The revision of the online CSE content will further allow for upgrading the course content, assessments and learning methodologies to ensure that the course can be accredited.

4. ABOUT THIS ASSIGNMENT

This assignment is building on the work of the UNESCO and UNFPA on the existing online course on CSE, and a lot of work that has been done on teacher training in the region; not least among them, the development of a regional in-person teacher training manual and resource pack. Recognizing the importance of well-trained teachers in the effective delivery of sexuality education at classroom level the UN partners wish to update the current online CSE course to incorporate new knowledge and evidence, and utilization of recently developed resources. The partners wish to strengthen the implementation of comprehensive sexuality education curricula through a confident and well-trained teaching force through high quality pre and in-service training programme.

UNESCO and UNFPA are seeking a qualified consultant to work with a UN recruited IT consultant and update the existing content of the CSE online course. Specifically, the consultant shall:

  1. Update the existing in-service training course on comprehensive sexuality education that draws on the revised International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education(ITGSE), and the in-person teacher training manual, among other resources;
  2. Develop course content that can be converted into an online course and prepare the appropriate support materials.
  3. In liaison with the IT expert, the consultant shall:

  • come up with learning objectives, instructional methods and activities, storyboards, content, subject matter knowledge, lesson outlines structure and flow, and media assets. down the content into timed sessions and activities to be uploaded on the online learning platform
  • provide guidance to the IT expert on balancing the course between taking an asynchronous learning and synchronous learning approaches to allow for cohorts that give motivation to the learners and ensuring interactivity.
  • Transform the course content presented in large text form to ensure that it is more interactive
  • devise means of presenting critical content on the learning platform and avoid or reduce on too many outward links for the learners.
  1. Develop learning and assessment activities that adequately access learners’ level of understanding of the course content and the ability to apply learned concepts. The assessments should meet the mini standards that allow for CSE online course accreditation in the different countries where the course will be offered.
  1. Recommend quality sources of information to use and pedagogy to support learning activities, the duration and sequence of the activities, technology or technologies for the electronic and online activities, and other tools required for non-electronic activities.

5. DELIVERABLES

  • An Inception report capturing the CSE online course outline, expanded activities and deliverables of this assignment.
  • Course curriculum and content, which include learning activities, assessments and relevant resource materials; and an indication of required teaching aids such as videos.
  • Process report on the consultant’s responsibilities to provide content guidance to the IT expert on five items outlined above.
  • A report compiling course assessments that are in-line with key competencies required in the accreditation process for the defined level of accreditation.

6. HOW TO APPLY

To apply, send your CV, an outline showing similar assignments successfully completed, a breakdown

of fees and timelines for the assignment to d.cheta@unesco.org by 29 May 2020.

UNESCO : Terms of Reference

INTRODUCTION

As part of the ESA Ministerial Commitment for scaling up Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in

the region, UNESCO, UNFPA, Johns Hopkins University/HC3 and the Foundation for Professional Development have collaborated to design an in-service teacher training course. Ministries of education from across 21 ESA countries and the SADC and EAC Secretariats are key partners in the course. The online course is currently hosted and implemented by the Foundation for Professional Development (FPD) and Medical Practice Consulting (MPC) under the leadership of FPD.

This online training course on sexuality education was designed for teachers in the Eastern and Southern Africa Region who have the responsibility for teaching Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) to learners. Specifically, the online course was created to contribute to the following regional outcomes:

  • Increased number of teachers in the Eastern and Southern Africa Region who are qualified to teach sexuality education;
  • Strengthened capacity of ministries of education to provide education and training for teachers to teach sexuality and HIV education lessons in the classrooms;
  • Improved quality of school-based sexuality and HIV education programs – evidence informed and effective to reduce risky behaviours amongst school-going youth; and
  • Improved learner knowledge and health-seeking behaviours for sexual and reproductive health and rights achievement and related life skills.

BACKGROUND

Over the last decade, countries in the East and Southern African (ESA) region have taken major strides

towards the development and incorporation of life skills education (LSE) and comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) in their school curricula. These strides have been made to counter the threat of HIV and other STIs, and to help protect girls against early and unintended pregnancy, provide the necessary skills to develop effective decision making and communication skills, explore values and attitudes and be made aware of risk reduction skills.

Evidence shows that effective comprehensive sexuality education programmes consistently increase student knowledge about HIV and other health issues, delay age of sexual debut, and increase use of contraception including condoms by young people. Effective HIV and sexuality education requires the capacity and guidance of highly skilled and motivated educators. The International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education (UNESCO, 2018) argues, for example, that these teachers need appropriate training, skills in the use of participatory methods and ongoing support. The UNFPA Operational Guidance  for Comprehensive  Sexuality Education: A Focus on Human Rights and Gender (2014) articulates that effective CSE calls for an explicit mainstreaming of gender throughout all aspects of CSE and a focus on sexual and reproductive rights as components of human rights. This means that young

people have a right to scientifically accurate information, bodily integrity and a right to access sexual and reproductive health services.

School settings provide an important opportunity to reach large numbers of young people with sexuality education before they become sexually active, as well as offering an appropriate structure within which to do so systematically over time. Teachers remain central to the process given their critical role in delivering sexuality education and with the right knowledge, skills and comfort levels for effectively delivery of sexuality education helps to ensure that learners receive accurate and age- appropriate information. This information guides the learners through adolescence and enables them to make responsible decisions that impact their current and future sexual and reproductive health and overall well-being.

This online course, therefore, was developed as an accessible resource to support the training of teachers and other educators to deliver school-based sexuality education in East and Southern Africa. For many countries in the ESA region, the capacity and performance of teachers in delivering comprehensive sexuality curricula remains a significant implementation challenge. Sexuality-related topics can be culturally and religiously sensitive. Teachers may live and work in areas that require a great deal of travel and resources in order to obtain professional development and support. If teachers are to empower the young people in their care with the potentially life-saving knowledge, they will need to be competent and comfortable to deliver the information that life skills based comprehensive sexuality education offers. The course was created online to be as accessible to as many educators in the ESA region as possible.

WHY  AN  ONLINE COURSE FOR CSE?

This learning approach:

  • allows flexibility for different learning styles, including the various generational learning styles,
  • is self-directed and empowers learners to take ownership for their learning in the workplace,
  • is more interactive,
  • allows learning to be broken down into nuggets that can be accessed on demand, and
  • streamline the learning process to minimize learners’ out of duty station time.

WHO  IS  THIS COURSE FOR?

This course targets teachers and other educators across Eastern and Southern Africa who need to obtain or update their knowledge and related skills on comprehensive sexuality education, and who are actively involved or intend to be involved in the delivery of sexuality education in the region.

THE  OVERALL COURSE GOAL

The overall course goal is to support effective implementation of life skills based/life orientation curriculum by equipping teachers with knowledge and skills related to the delivery of age appropriate, human rights and gender-based-comprehensive sexuality education in schools through the use of ICTS.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

By the end of the online course, the teachers and educators should be able to:

  • Provide accurate information and knowledge on sexuality education, its importance and benefits;
  • Acknowledge how personal values, beliefs, biases can influence the teaching of sexuality education and the importance of not asserting one’s beliefs and biases onto learners;
  • Use the knowledge and skills acquired to deliver an effective life skills-based sexuality education in participatory, culturally sensitive and age-appropriate ways.

COURSE DURATION

The online course can be accomplished in about 40 hours depending on the pace of the participant which is an equivalent of 4 -5 days. Participants are however not allowed to undertake the course for more 3 months from the time they have been enrolled on the course.

CURRENT COURSE MODALITIES

Initially, the course was administered mainly through distance learning, where teachers could take in in the comfort of their environment. But as the course was rolled out, it became clear that completion rates were significantly low, and teachers faced challenges such as lack of access to computers and internet. The modality was then tweaked, and teachers would be asked to convene in person at one place, go through some value clarification, be provided with computers and internet, be assisted with registering for the course, and also be given an opportunity for teach-backs. Currently, the course consists of three main learning components, namely the face to face component, the distance learning, and the mentorship and support supervision component.

  1. The face to face component: this component is undertaken at the start of the course and towards the end of the course for one day.
    1. At the start of the course face to face sessions focus on introducing the course and providing all information related to the course, the course delivery methodology and rationale for undertaking the course. This session is expected to boost the participants’ confidence towards undertaking and also ensure that participants have logged in to the course. The first to face sessions also focus on norms clarification to help participants identify and challenge their own biases and stereotypes
    2. At the end of the course, another face to face session is held to focus on the review of participants’ progress, provide participants an opportunity to process the content acquired and well provide participants an opportunity to apply effective teaching methods for CSE through ‘teach backs’.
  1. The online learning component: This is large component of the programme and then the assessment component that examines the knowledge and personal experiences acquired by the learners. The online education component can be completed 100%. It gives teachers an opportunity to study at their pace (but within the stipulated time-frame). Expert resource is available in the premises for support, and FPD assigns remotely who assists with troubleshooting any ICT related challenges. The online component is accompanied by a printed version of the content which also includes samples of the scripted lesson plans.
  1. Mentorship and support supervision: the component of support supervision remains a critical and integral part of the online course towards supporting teachers in utilizing effectively the knowledge and skills acquired. It is therefore recommended that each teacher that has completed the online

course becomes part of the Regional Learning Platform, where they can access and share

information and lessons with others. The platform also offers an opportunity for teachers and CSE experts to share lessons from different countries. It is functionally a community of practice on CSE.

ABOUT THIS ASSSIGNMENT

Since the beginning, the course has been hosted and administered centrally (at regional level) by FPD, with support from UNESCO and UNFPA. It however has become clear that hosting the course centrally is not sustainable and not easily implementable at the country level. UNESCO and UNFPA have received interest from countries, for them to independently host and administer the course from their respective countries. This means that a country would identify an institution with the capacity and IT infrastructure to host the online course and be able to deliver it to teachers.

In this vein, UNESCO is seeking the services of an Information Technology (IT) or online learning Specialist to study the architecture of the current course hosted by FPD, and make recommendations for the decentralized hosting of the course to countries.

OBJECTIVES OF  THE CONSULTANCY

  • Study the current CSE Online Course being hosted by FPD
  • Provide requirements for hosting the course by any institution, highlighting the required IT infrastructure and necessary support. The infrastructure must include a functionality where data for enrollment and completion is centralized to ensure real-time reporting of numbers
  • Explore requirements to make the online course an accredited examinable course within the host institution’s structure

DELIVERABLES

  • A report indicating the minimum requirements necessary for hosting the course at an institution. The report should include but not be limited to details about the IT infrastructure, internet requirements (bandwidth, speed), server requirements, website standards, real-time data tracking functionality and human resource expertise
  • A cost estimation for hosting the course, bearing in mind that the course content is already available.
  • The analysis should be balanced between east and southern Africa, that is, include countries from both regions.

REQUIRED EXPERIENCE  AND QUALIFICATION

  • Consultant must have an advanced degree in computer science, information technology or other related field
  • Must have experience working on an online course of a similar nature
  • If the consultant is an institution, the lead consultant must possess the above

Interested consultants should send a cover letter, CV, proof of previous work, and a costed work plan

for this assignment to d.cheta@unesco.org no later than 2 March 2020.

by Oratilwe Moerane

I am 19 years of age, a mother to a 2 year old little cute man. “Being a teen mum means we met a little early but it also means that I get to love you a little longer.”
Broken dreams due to teenage pregnancy: I always saw myself in what I  call my 5 miraculous dresses
1. Matriculation dress
2 and 3. Graduation dresses
4. Wedding dress
5. Maternity dress
Sadly because back in those years I never taught myself not to take anything my peers say personal. I found myself taking a different route from the one planned watching my dreams shatter. At that very moment it had to take God to turn my life upside down so I could learn how to live right side up without searching for any validation. When I found out I was pregnant, I had to deal society confronting me with painful stigma and mistrust. At that age of 17 I had to realise that motherhood is a choice made daily, having to put someone else’s happiness and well being before yours, to teach hard lessons, to do right even when you are actually not sure what right is, having to forgive myself over and over again thinking I’m doing everything wrong. These were lessons that I should have learnt at the right age and time.
Having to drop out of school i had to hustle hard so that I can provide where I can for my son.The hunger of a productive launch is pretty addictive. Not only was I grateful to share my story to over 600 pupils including the honourable Minster Angela Motshekga, UNESCO, partners and MBTEENLIFESTLYE , I had to hear and learn the different perspectives on how teenage pregnancies affect our parents, families and communities.


Having been provided with more information to make more informed decisions, I hope that now society will learn to stop shaming our teenagers who are pregnant, those who feel they want to start using contraceptive or know their statues. Rather than confronting them, help them understand their decisions and make them fully aware of the choices they are about to take. The Let’s Talk campaign will allow teenagers to use the materials on the website not only to inform themselves but inform others of the necessity of taking care of ones health and understanding that pregnancy at the right time will ensure a healthy mother and happy baby. We must be gentle and supportive so that we don’t have girls replacing their fathers with their boyfriends, because i believe the moment we step into the teenage life we need a consistent shoulder to cry on a person who listens to understand and not just to respond.

UNESCO officially launched the Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future (O3) Programme in Malawi in partnership with the Ministry of Science, Education and Technology and the Norwegian Embassy in Lilongwe on 10 October 2019. The launch culminated in the agreement signing ceremony between UNESCO and the Government of Norway to accelerate the O3 programme.

The O3 launch was attended by UNESCO’s Regional Director for Southern Africa, Prof. Hubert Gijzen, the Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Dr. William Susuwele Banda, the, the Norwegian Ambassador to Malawi, Steinar Egil Hagen, and the UN Resident Coordinator, Maria Jose Torres Macho. Representatives from civil society organisations and the media were present along with students, teachers and parents at the Mphungu Primary School in Lilongwe.

Since the commencement of the O3 programme in Malawi, the government has been an instrumental partner in advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights to its population. Despite these notable measures, over 70% of new HIV infections are among young women (15-19 years). Pregnancy and childbirth complications continue to be the leading cause of death among young women in Malawi.

The Norwegian Ambassador, Steinar Egil Hagen stated we are today at the starting point of an important partnership, with our friends in the Malawi government, and with the UN-family and working on an important topic, comprehensive sexuality education”…”together, we can make a difference for children in Malawi.

The funding provided by the Norwegian government will allow Malawi to deepen the scope of existing activities to attain full-scale implementation of Comprehensive Sexual Education (CSE) supported by inter-sectoral partners and UNESCO Malawi.

As we sign the Agreement for this project, we are making a public declaration that now more than ever, we need to transform the lives of children and young people. We are saying we want to work together in eradicating these challenges. Eradicating gender-based violence, early and unintended pregnancy, reduce new HIV infections, and increase young peoples knowledge said Prof. Gijzen, UNESCO’s Regional Director.

UNESCO has been working across the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) region to improve sexual and reproductive health outcomes for adolescents and young people through scaling up CSE. The provision and access to CSE resources are expected to promote and sustain risk-reducing behaviour among young people.

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.

Zimbabwe launched its School Health Policy on 11th June 2018 in Harare as a strategic means to promote positive health determinants while preventing and mitigating health risks among learners.

Jointly developed by the Ministries of Health and Child Care and Primary and Secondary Education, the policy has the vision of “A primary and secondary education system with an enabling environment for the provision of equitable, sustainable and quality health services for all learners.”

Key components of the policy include:

  • Competency based health education
  • Psychosocial support services
  • Safe and sanitary school environment
  • Disaster risk management
  • School based health and nutrition services
  • School – family – community health linkage services
  • Support facilities and services for learners with special needs; and
  • Health promotion for school staff

The launch which was held under the theme, “Ensuring a healthy mind in a healthy body’, was attended by the Ministers of Health and Child Care, and Primary and Secondary Education, other senior Government Officials, members of the UN family, teachers, healthy professionals, development partners and civil society representatives.

Speaking at the launch, the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Prof. Paul Mavima, said he was pleased that the policy was finally being launched after a long period of consultations with parents, learners and stakeholders in both the education and health sectors.

“The policy provides mechanisms to coordinate a systematic approach to addressing health issues for learners in our schools,” he said.

In his remarks, the Minister of Health and Child Care, David Parirenyatwa said, “a comprehensive school health programme denotes a set of policies, procedures and activities set to protect, promote and support the health and welfare of pupils and staff which include the provision of health services, healthy school environment, life skills, health education and school nutrition”.

Speaking on behalf of the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Bishow Parajuli, WFP Representative, Mr Eddie Rowe, said since the majority of adolescents and young people in Zimbabwe spend the most of their time in school, implementing a robust school health programme increases the reach of health promotion interventions in this age group.

“HIV remains a significant public health concern in Zimbabwe especially among adolescents and youths, therefore, the School Health Program provides an opportunity for us to step up HIV prevention efforts among young people, and to promote adherence for those young people who are already on treatment,” he said.

The report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Education and Training (1999) recommended the development of a school health policy. The development of the policy can be traced back to 2004. The impetus to finalise the policy was provided after the coming in of the Zimbabwe Curriculum Framework, 2015-2022, which acknowledges that healthy and happy learners learn better, while poor health can have a detrimental effect on school attendance and academic performance.

UN agencies in Zimbabwe including UNESCO, UNICEF, WHO and WFP supported the development of the policy. The Policy is seen as a bridge to engage the education sector in efforts to positively influence the educational, social and economic conditions that affect health. In addition, ensuring that a school-going-age population is healthy is key for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

For more information, please contact: l.halimani@unesco.org

 

Article from our Technical Coordination Group Member, SAfAIDS

Many of the young people who take part in youth groups like the Youth for Gender Norms Transformation (Y4GT) are eloquent in speaking about to HIV and gender-based violence, but for 16 year-old Somvubu High School student Nomdumo Moyo, the this topic is very broad and she chooses to look at it from a different perspective.

Speaking to SAfAIDS on the sidelines of a meeting at the school, the teen said discrimination was one of the major issues fueling violence among young people in Bubi area.

“When we talk of discrimination, we do not limit it to issues of HIV alone. Discrimination comes in different forms and affects young people negatively. For example, before the Y4GT programme was introduced in Inyathi, some pupils used to discriminate against others based on their family and economic backgrounds and this resulted in the other pupils not performing well during exams,” she said.

Nomdumo explained that with the training that she got, she was able to counsel students so that they stop discriminating against others based on their HIV status or poverty. She also said that on a number of occasions she has referred pupils with major problems to the two teachers who head the programme for further counselling.

Read more on the SafAIDS Website.

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