Three-year project to save the children

Zimbabwe is one of the countries covered by international humanitarian group, Save the Children’s recently launched project to ensure that children have improved access to information.

Save the Children will work with NGOs to educate children.
Save the Children will work with NGOs to educate children.

Zimbabwe falls under Cycle 2 of the three-year project, alongside Liberia, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda. The project will reach an estimated 340,000 children between 5-18 years, ensuring that they have both improved knowledge of sexuality and can engage in safer sexual practices.

Elijah Adera, the organisation’s Regional Programme Manager, recently explained that the project would train non-governmental organisations on how to educate children about sexuality, and how to deliver HIV/AIDS prevention information. The trainers/partners will then use the skills they have acquired to pass on key messages to children between 5-18 years of age.

“We haven’t outlined the NGOs yet, but we will be working with Save the Children’s country office in Zimbabwe to assess the NGOs based on certain criteria,” said Adera. “One of the key considerations will be to ensure that we are working within the policy outlined by the government, related to sex education in schools. We want to ensure that in the end, children have the skills and knowledge to make the right choices about their own sexuality and sexual behaviours.”

Save the Children will target a range of civil society organisations, including children’s groups, HIV networks, schools, religious leaders and national governments to train a core group of master trainers, who will then support the ongoing dissemination of key information and materials to children.

The project is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency, with a budget of $6 million. It will teach children about the ill effects of stigma and discrimination as well as address inequalities and other power dynamics at the centre of transmission – two key drivers of the epidemic in the region.

“The age of sexual debut for children in this region, especially girls, can be as young as 13. We want to make sure that they have the tools they need to seek help, should they become infected,” added Adera.

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