SAYWHAT is a membership based registered Trust founded in December 2003 as a platform where students in tertiary institutions can discuss their sexual and reproductive health challenges. SAYWHAT draws its membership from more than 36 tertiary institutions in Zimbabwe in the categories of teacher training colleges, agricultural colleges, polytechnics, vocational training colleges and universities.
In the past 10 years, our overarching aim has been to foster, among the students, a sharp sense of personal responsibility for maintaining good sexual and reproductive health status. SAYWHAT also seeks to mobilize Zimbabwean students to participate in the promotion of the global targets and goals for better sexual and reproductive health.
SAYWHAT promotes information and knowledge sharing among students; undertakes networking and advocacy and provides support services to students on sexual and reproductive health issues. SAYWHAT advocates for student-friendly services and commodities as well as policies that address the various SRH challenges that students in tertiary institutions confront.
SAYWHAT is an institution that is coordinated by students through an elected National Coordinating Committee (NCC). The NCC is made up of students from different tertiary institutions.
Besides the NCC, SAYWHAT also has an advisory Board that is appointed by the NCC. The Board provides oversight and technical backstopping to the organisation. The Board is also the custodian of the SAYWHAT assets. At provincial level SAYWHAT is coordinated and led by the Provincial Coordination Committees (PCCs).
In institutions that SAYWHAT operates in, there are Local Coordinating Committees (LCC’s) that does planning and coordination at institutional level. Outside the student structures, SAYWHAT also works with student support structures such as the student affairs departments and the health and life skills departments.
At national level, SAYWHAT sits in various technical working groups and forums to advance the interests of students’ Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.
SAYWHAT has a secretariat that is led by the Executive Director whose function is to implement the organization’s projects, coordinate stakeholder engagement, mobilize resources and management as well as the day-to-day administration of the organization. The secretariat works within the framework of work and priorities as conceptualized by students and student support structures under the overall supervision of the board of trustees.
Over the years, SAYWHAT has transformed from a small organisation to a big institution whose SRHR programing of students has gained recognition beyond Zimbabwean borders. Some of or achievements are
1) Strategic linkages and networks
SAYWHAT has working relationships with line ministries, government departments and other implementing partners on sexual and reproductive health of young people in Zimbabwe. SAYWHAT has become one of the leading and authentic voices on sexual and reproductive health issues affecting students.
2) Capacity building for students
SAYWHAT has enhanced the capacity of students to initiate SRH interventions through the Local Coordinating Committees (LCC). The LCC facilitate the sharing of knowledge and information through various methods i.e. debate, sporting activities, edutainment, sanitary wear campaigns and policy advocacy.
3) Participation in special events
SAYWHAT has organized or participated in special events such as:
- Sporting galas used as vehicles for IEC activities around SRH, HIV and AIDS
- Holding parliamentary meetings to advocate for policy change on SRH issues affecting students
- IEC around SRH, HIV and AIDS in universities and colleges in Zimbabwe
- IEC stands at annual Zimbabwe Agricultural Show and the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair and other exhibition and expos
- Annual National Students’ Conference on sexual and reproductive health since 2006
As SAYWHAT we believe that our core business includes:
- Empowering students with information and knowledge on SRHR issues, to promote safe sex practices and health seeking behavior through generation and sharing of IEC materials on all relevant thematic areas
- Advocating for legal, policy and socio-cultural environments that builds a gender just nation with students who enjoy their reproductive health rights