YADT making a difference in Chitungwiza
By Edward Makuzva
Youth Aspire Development Trust (YADT), is youth a led organization based in Chiutngwiza and Seke Rural is currently implementing a Project called Enhancing Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) information and services.
In an interview, YADT director, Wesley Nyabaya said the project is being implemented in five areas in Zimbabwe namely Mutare, Harare, Chitungwia, Bulawayo , Plumtree and Restless Development is the leading partner with funding support from the Amplify Change fund.
Nyabaya added that the project has emphasized the inclusion of young people with disabilities (YWPD) in SRHR and the organisation has achieved this by conducting a Survey on the challenges faced by young people in accessing Comprehensive sexuality education and also conducted 2 district dialogues which reached 53 stakeholders.
“The first dialogue was on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) with the objective of sensitizing stakeholders, caregivers and young people including young people with disability (YPWD) on CSE.
“The dialogue also provided a platform to explore experiences and challenges being faced by young people including YPWD in accessing CSE and also coming up with possible solutions. On the second dialogue the youth advocates presented their findings to stakeholders for example religious leaders, teachers, parents, young people, service providers and key government ministries”, Nyabaya added .
The director highlighted that most stakeholders applauded YADT for bringing a very crucial topic (CSE) to discussion as fewer activities are being done in the district of Chitungwiza with particular focus on CSE .
“ It was also proven through the research findings that young people’s access to CSE at home, at church, at school is very limited and this is even worse for young people with disabilitites.
“Therefore a consensus was agreed by all key services providers to work together towards increasing access to CSE information to young people by sourcing more materials or if possible printing it, and make sure that it is easily accessed by young people and is accommodative to YPWD (in brail, sign language or in large print), is always on display and more awareness campaigns to be conducted on CSE. Apart from that basic training should be provided on CSE to teachers, parents, religious leaders and service providers”, Nyabaya explained.
The research findings showed that young people are not getting enough CSE and that IEC material with CSE information is limited or not being accessed by young people, all the stakeholders agreed that it was an area they cannot give a deaf ear to, but make inroads in making the whole system fully functional, efficient and effective.
Youth Aspire Programs Manager Priscilla Mapako said Young People With Disabilities are mostly viewed as an afterthought and they lack motivation thus they are now reluctant in participating in Community programs.
Mapako said supporting young people with disability who are positively contributing to their communities will motivate others to support and get involved in upholding program deliverables. She also highlighted that hearing challenges being faced by young people especially those with disabilities in accessing CSE, and in accessing health services made us realise that consultations, monitoring of young people’s (esp. those with disability) behaviours/perceptions/attitude need to be undertaken, and made routine across all initiatives capitalizing on youth engagement.
“ This will make CSOs programing tackle the actual issues being experienced by young people rather than CSOs working in isolation.CSOs, government institutions and health ministries need to intensively pre-consult and involve young people especially those with disability in planning and development of CSE Information Education and Communication materials (IEC) such that its inclusive of YPWD and its age appropriate.
One of the trained youth advocates Andromedah Naringo pointed out that “Bringing young people with disabilities together with their parents and key service providers created a space for open interaction and discussion on SRHR needs for young people with disabilities.Young people with disabilities are capable of advocating for themselves when given the platform to express themselves about their SRHR needs and rights “
Youth Aspire Communications Officer Shamiso Mushavi said our organization is in the process of starting a Youth Hub in Chitungwiza and the Goal of the Youth Hub is to create a safe space for recreation, skilling and learning for adolescents and young people.
She added that the Youth Hub, mainly focus on providing hands on entrepreneurship and business skills development, recreational activities, and a space for learning.
Mushavi added that young people are equipped with correct, appropriate and accurate information on their health and wellbeing, including information on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), prevention and management of Sexual and Gender based violence (SGBV), HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted disease prevention and management, prevention and management of drug and substance abuse among other health related issues that affect young people.
Meanwhile, basic training should be provided on CSE to teachers, parents, religious leaders and service providers such that they get experienced when disseminating CSE information to young people including YPWD