Action for Choice
The Action for Choice Project
SAYWHAT with support from the Embassy of Sweden in Zimbabwe is implementing the Action for Choice (A4C) project in 10 State Universities in the country. The Action for Choice (A4C) is inspired by a belief in students’ power to make choices about their Sexual and Reproductive Health. It is built on an understanding that if students’ Sexual and Reproductive Health choices are broadened, there is increased potential for them to excel in other development facets such as education, professional careers and employability. The project aims to, “Improve access to and utilization of contraception, HIV and GBV services by students in 10 State Universities in Zimbabwe”. It seeks to achieve this through harnessing the collective action of students and strengthening their voices to make choices on SRH services that have an impact on their lives. It seeks to ensure that duty bearers craft policies and programs which are in line with students preferred choices with particular reference to choices that have been taken away from them on morality, religious and cultural grounds. The A4C project is designed as a three year (3) program with a performance period of July 2018 – June 2021.
The Action for Choice (A4C) project seeks to strengthen the provision of Sexuality Information and Education for students to increase their life-skills and assertiveness in making positive choices in the utilization of Contraception, GBV, HIV services in 10 State Universities in Zimbabwe by 2021.
The specific areas of focus are on:
- Reduction in STI and HIV incidence in 10 State Universities.
- Reduction in Unplanned Pregnancies in 10 State Universities.
- Reduction in Gender Based Violence in 10 State Universities.
Highlights of Action for Choice Project Achievements from July 2018 to December 2019
The Action for Choice project has made significant strides in improving student access to and utilization of contraception, HIV and GBV services not only in the targeted 10 State Universities but also among other young people in different spaces in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa. Since its inception in July 2018, the A4C project has seen the establishment of 10 Resource Centres in 10 State Universities in Zimbabwe. The Resource Centres have become important SRH information and referral hubs for students and have since seen increased numbers of students accessing SRH and other services from university clinics.
The project has also trained 1 000 Mugota and Web for Life Peer Educators who have been at the core of planning and implementing Health Fairs, Campus Co-Creation activities, One Guy Campaigns as well as facilitating meaningful SRHR discussions on Positive Choices WhatsApp groups.
The inaugural Best of Universities Quiz Challenge was produced in August 2019 and was broadcast live on SAYWHAT and Heart and Soul TV Facebook pages reaching over half a million people within that month. The quiz challenge also begun showing on DStv Mindset TV Channel 319 as from the 9th of January 2020.
The Action for Choice project has also seen SAYWHAT hosting 2 National Students Conferences in December 2018 and December 2019, reaching over 400 student delegates and key partners on SRHR in Zimbabwe and the Southern African Region at large. These conferences have been major advocacy platforms and stimulants of important SRHR policy reviews.
The Smart Choice Mobile Application (which is a one stop SRHR information hub for students) was also launched in December 2019. The move was implemented after realisation of the need to shift from the traditional way of engaging young people and migrate to strategies that young people identify with. The mobile application has topics relating to sexual and reproductive health including Contraception, Sexual Harassment, STIs and HIV, Condom Use, Support and Nearest Clinics amongst other relevant information on SRH. Once downloaded, the application can be used while offline. Currently, the Smart Choice Application is found on Google Play Store and can be downloaded on the following link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.saywhat.smartchoice&hl=en