Young People Have a Right to their Future

OneVoice South Africa (OVSA), a dynamic NGO partnering with young people on HIV and TBprevention, continues to reach young people (13-19 years) and helping them to take action in their own lives and communities.

Since its inception in 2009, OVSA has taken the strong view that young people’s opinions need to be recognised, and incorporated in interventions that directly impact on their lives.

To date, OVSA’s Schools Programme, consisting of a series of 14 in-depth workshops addressing critical health issues - has been welcomed by learners in 15 schools across KwaZulu-Natal. Developed in support of the Department of Education’s Life Orientation Curriculum and the national response to HIV/TB - the workshop content promotes learner understanding and discussion of HIV/AIDS, TB, sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender and human rights issues. In particular, it provides learners with a good understanding of sexual and reproductive health and rights, basic HIV and TB science, their rights and how to exercise them, as well as other sexual and reproductive health and rights issues.

The programme also engages learners on addressing stigma, clears up myths and misinformation about HIV/AIDS, and TB, and teaches a number of life skills. The content includes provision for some creative reading, writing and speaking skills - and are also based on skills, knowledge and values development of learners. Correct information is known to increase confidence and empowers young people to assert their rights to dignity, respect and good healthy practices. The Schools Programme workshops are supported with contextualised, age-appropriate and gender and culturally-sensitive learner and facilitator materials. Content is updated annually, and has been developed with the help of educational experts, OVSA staff, role players and stakeholders and the learners themselves. Specifically, the OVSA Facilitator Manual and Learner Notebook remain in line with national guidelines, as well as what is experienced on the ground. Guidelines are also provided to OVSA Facilitators, who implement the programme - as well as learner assessment activities.

Concurrently, OVSA, in collaboration with the South African Medical Research Council are receiving a small grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), managed by the University Research Co., LLC. This TB prevention and early detection project is another intervention which provides for critical thinking and decision-making.

Ultimately, OVSA and its partners, will continue to support young people to make better choices about critical health, sexuality and sex, as well as human rights issues; choices that can change their futures for the better.

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Date published: 
Saturday, 31 March, 2012
OneVoice South Africa

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