The Soul City Institute for Health and Development Communication is partnering with organisations in seven Southern African countries to address sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) issues affecting youth and mobile populations. The regional partnership focuses on the effective development and dissemination of social behaviour change communication at country level to create awareness of SRHR and its link to HIV.
The specific objectives are this project are to:
- Intensify cross border Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) interventions with a particular focus on high risk groups and migrant populations.
- Develop in-country SBCC interventions targeting young people in SRHR including HIV & AIDS prevention for use in countries and aligned with national policies.
- Develop strong political leadership on HIV and SRHR in the region, as well as consolidate regional alliances and partnerships to intensify SBCC interventions.
- Advocate among leaders at local, national, regional and global level for increased promotion of human rights and gender equality and effective SBCC.
To meet these objectives, Soul City and it's partners based in other Southern African countries have been engaged in the following activities:
Developing SRHR pamphlets for sex workers at borders in Namibia, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe
Stakeholder consultations were held and audience research conducted to identify the relevant topics, knowledge gaps, and information prior to the production of the pamphlets. Each country partner in the Soul City regional programme conducted stakeholder interviews with 2-3 organisations and also conducted consultations with sex workers at border areas. The results from this formative research were put into a message brief to be used to develop pamphlets that are country specific and speak to issues affecting sex workers at borders. In developing the pamphlets sharing ideas between country partners strengthened the products.
Production of audio materials for truck drivers
As a strategy to reach truck drivers at border areas and to create awareness on HIV prevention, Soul City is re-producing a total of 2000 CDs and 100 USBs to be distributed in Namibia, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The CDs and USBs will have OneLove radio drama stories in local languages with country specific content and they will be distributed amongst truck drivers in the border areas.
Set up of TVs and DVDs at wellness centres by borders areas
Soul City, through its partners, set up TVs and DVDs in wellness centres at border areas in Namibia, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. These TVs and DVDs are being used to screen Soul City Untold and Love stories short films (see related links at the bottom of the page) for mobile populations and community members at border areas.
Production of two youth SRHR TV talk shows in Malawi and Swaziland
Soul City is supporting Pakachere (Malawi) and Lusweti (Swaziland) to produce TV talk shows for young people between the ages of 12-25 years. The goal of the TV shows is to create awareness, promote self-efficacy, shift attitudes and norms, and impact on behaviours of youths as primary target audience on sexual and reproductive health rights.
Development of youth SRHR booklet in 7 countries
Soul City has worked with the 7 country partners in the regional programme to develop SRHR booklets. Literature reviews conducted in the first year of the project revealed gaps and issues at national level around SRHR and young peoples, which guided the development of the booklets. Booklets are expected to be published in the second half of 2013.
Social mobilisation around border communities
Since April/May 2013, the Soul City partners have been conducting social mobilisation activities at border posts. These have included community dialogues, meetings and events in conjunction with local partners at border areas and nearby communities. Increasingly, the use of community conversation toolkits developed by C-Change and Soul City are being integrated into these activities.
E-platforms and knowledge management
The Soul Beat Africa platform has launched a SRHR website highlighting the specific focus areas of this SRHR initiative – youth, sex workers, and mobile/border populations, as well as information on SRHR programmes and studies from other areas of Africa. Soul City and regional partner initiatives, materials, and studies are published on this website and highlighted in various Soul Beat e-newsletters.
Formative research on female condoms and youth (UNFPA)
This formative research in Malawi was conducted with the support of Pakachere Institute for Health and Development Communication to understand youth knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of female condom use. The research used Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and indepth interviews with young people between the ages of 15 and 24 years. It also included a literature review. Once completed the results will be used to develop a DVD that addresses female condom use amongst youth in Africa.
Social media training workshop for young people in Africa (UNFPA)
Soul City with the support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) held a 5-day social media workshop from 12 – 16 August 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The purpose of the training workshop was to enhance capacity of 60-70 young people from Africa on the use of social media as an advocacy tool to address the inter linkages between SRH, gender equality, HIV prevention, and poverty reduction. At the end of the training, the participants developed work plans on how they are going to use different social media platforms to promote and create awareness of SRHR for young people at country level.
Mapping of youth SRH and HIV prevention programmes and organisations in Eastern and Southern Africa (UNFPA)
The focus of the mapping survey is to update and broaden the scope of the Survey Report produced by UNFPA in 2006. The survey focused on establishing information on the status of youth programming, including SRH and HIV prevention programmes, at country level in Eastern and Southern Africa. The survey is scheduled to be completed in September 2013.
Partnerships and advocacy
- Through the programme Soul City has managed to engage in regional partnerships and has collaborated with Southern African Development Community (SADC), UN agencies, and other development partners such as the Southern Africa Litigation Centre, Regional African HIV/AIDS NGOs (RAANGO), and Regional AIDS Training Network (RATN) networks.
- A year of implementing this project has reaffirmed the need to engage government as a strategy to ensure sustainability of interventions especially at border areas. In both Namibia and Zimbabwe, the projects are being implemented with support from District AIDS Coordinators and Governors at the border areas as a strategy to build synergies that can in turn facilitate opportunities for further resource mobilisation.
- National level partnerships have been created with organisations such as Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), North Star Alliance, and other community-based organisations to extend the reach, impact, and potential sustainability.
- Soul City will be hosting a regional SBCC symposium in November 2013 with the theme "Enhancing regional leadership and strengthening alliances on HIV and SRHR to promote Social Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) interventions in the region". The symposium will bring together key stakeholders at regional and national level including government, civil society organisations (gender and HIV), UN agencies, donor agencies, human rights organisations, and development partners to engage and share experiences on SBCC programmes, reflecting on evidence for their effectiveness.
- As part of their advocacy work, Soul City and its partners have attended various key regional meetings and conferences to share experiences of their SBCC work in the region.
HIV/AIDS, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
Soul City Institute for Health and Development Communication(South Africa), Pakachere Institute for Health and Development Communication (Malawi), Desert Soul Health and Development Communication (Namibia), N'weti Health Communication (Mozambique), Lusweti Institute for Health Development Communication (Swaziland), PHELA Health and Development Communications (Lesotho); Zambia Centre for Communication Programmes (Zambia), Action Institute for Environment Health and Development Communication (Zimbabwe), and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Funded by Sweden and Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad)
Soul City website on September 4 2013.