The Madhara Kwete Campaign in Zimbabwe seeks to end intergenerational relationships by informing young people of the consequences of these relationships and by giving them the power to say NO to being manipulated by older men and women. Under this campaign, standardised messages on ending intergenerational relationships are being disseminated to young people through advocacy platforms such as drama performances, music and dance competitions, branded t-shirts, and a television series. The campaign is part of the Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination Service (SAfAIDS) Young for Real (Y4R) initiative and is implemented by a consortium of partners.
According to SAfAIDS, intergenerational relationships have many consequences and risks mainly for the young person, including increased vulnerability to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), as power imbalances influence the ability of the younger partner to negotiate and demand safe sex practices. Due to social and economic power imbalances between men and women and the associated limitations in access to services, many women and girls have little capacity to negotiate sex, insist on condom use. or take steps to protect themselves from HIV. It is against this background, that the Madhara Kwete Campaign is relevant and timely to address intergenerational sex as one of the factors increasing young women and men's risk of HIV.
The campaign tagline is "Less sugar more life!" and emphasises the fact that if you focus on yourself and not on "sugar" (material possessions, temporary happiness with an older person etc.), you have a better chance of achieving your dreams and goals as a young person. The campaign is intended to equip young people with knowledge and skills to protect themselves and their peers.
In addition to drama performances, music and dance competitions, the campaign is using the Positive Talk television talk show to discuss issues around intergenerational sex and promote the campaign messages. The talk show is a SAfAIDS production that focuses on community mobilisation covering topics that are linked to HIV and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
The Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey (ZDHS, 2010-2011), states that on average women and men in Zimbabwe have their first sexual encounter before marriage. According to the ZDHS 2010-2011, 15% of young women aged 15-19 who had sexual intercourse in the year preceding the survey, had sex with a man 10 or more years older. Similarly, young men age 15-19 who reported that they had a sexual partner in the past 12 months were asked the age of the partner. Less than 1% reported having a partner 10 or more years older. As a result young women are more vulnerable and at risk of intergenerational relationships as opposed to young men.
Women's Action Group, Pastimeredu Edutainment Trust, Padare/Enkundleni/Men's Forum on Gender, Batanai HIV/AIDS support group, SAYWHAT, Bekezela Home Based Care
SAfAIDS website on October 7 2013