Young people in institutions of learning are faced with various challenges including poverty, gender inequality and inadequate access to health information. Despite various strategies and policies aimed at promoting access to information within learning institutions, the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and needs of young people are yet to be sufficiently addressed. Furthermore, young people are not meaningfully engaged in the development or implementation of these strategies.
Given this backdrop, Students and Youth Working on Reproductive Health Action Team (SAYWHAT) conceptualized and implemented the ‘Youth Access Project’ focusing on young people in tertiary institutions. With support from Hivos, through the Regional SRHR Fund, SAYWHAT set out to improve access to adolescent SRHR services and commodities among students and young people in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The project strengthened youth participation in SRHR-related policy engagements and increased awareness on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) SRHR Strategy (2019-2030).
Through SAYWHAT’s initiative, young people in tertiary institutions in the SADC region are forging new alliances to improve access to SRHR information and promote meaningful youth participation in advocacy and policy engagement processes.
The ‘Young People at the Advocacy Frontline’ case study showcases SAYWHAT’s youth-led approach to ASRHR for young people in tertiary institutions. The case study is part of the Regional SRHR Fund’s documentation of case studies aimed at supporting cross learning and knowledge sharing to enable organizations conceptualize, design and coordinate adolescent SRHR advocacy. This initiative has been made possible with support from Sida through the Regional SRHR Team at the Embassy of Sweden in Lusaka.