The year 2016 saw FACT receiving more funding from TEAR Netherlands targeting young people 15-24 years in Mutare rural (Ward 16 – Mafararikwa and Ward 17 – Takarwa) and Bikita (Wards 20 and 24). The goal of this project is to improve sexual reproductive health status and livelihoods initiatives among young people. The project started in 2016 and expected to end in 2018. It adopted the STAR (Societies Tackling AIDS through Rights) methodology to address issues affecting young people. STAR is a participatory approach that facilitates mobilization of people and communities affected or living with HIV and AIDS by providing a system for mutual reflection, planning and collective action towards HIV and AIDS. It offers an integrated response to HIV and AIDS using tri-focal lens of gender, human rights and HIV and AIDS. This is an all-encompassing methodology which deals with several issues linked to SRH.
• 12 community facilitators were trained in Bikita and Mutare rural districts on STAR Methodology and the cadres are now well equipped to roll out the STAR methodology in their districts.
• Sensitized 6 school administrators on livelihoods initiatives and SRHR information and services
• 300 out of the targeted 250 guardians were sensitized on SRH information and services for young people.
• Establishment of livelihood initiatives for young people focusing on 80 households
• Reached 55 young people with psycho-social support camping on SRHR and livelihood skills
A school-based STAR circle in progress at Nharira High School in Ward 17 (Mutare Rural District)
Supported by Population Services International (PSI) Zimbabwe, client initiated testing and counselling is the foundation of the prevention of HIV. The goal of FACT New Start Centres in Manicaland and Mashonaland West Provinces is to improve the quality of life and reduce the incidence of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and HIV among susceptible groups and the general population. In 2014 FACT’s client initiated testing and counselling centres (Chinhoyi, Chipinge, Mutare & Chimanimani) recorded more than 50 000 clients who came to access testing and various counselling services. This programme targets the 15 – 49 age range. The following are the objectives of the programme:
- To provide HIV testing and counselling services to the most at risk population in urban and hard to reach areas
- To improve pregnancy planning, spacing and prevention of unintended pregnancies to women of child bearing age through provision of family planning services
- To reduce cervical cancer with early detection and treatment of women who are or have been sexually active
- To reduce psychological and medical complications to survivors of sexual abuse through counselling, collection of forensic evidence and treatment
- To strengthen integration of sexual reproductive health services and external referral and tracking of clients for post-test support services.
In Mashonaland West Province, the programme is covering all wards in Kadoma, Chegutu, Zvimba, Makonde, Hurungwe and Kariba districts. FACT’s New Start programme has made the following positive strides since it started:
- Establishment of offices for family planning, Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid and Camera (VIAC) and gender based violence
- Integration of Sexual Reproductive Health services, that is, family planning, cervical cancer screening, counselling and medical management of survivors of sexual abuse. FACT New Start Centres have become “One-stop-centres” where clients access different services under one roof, hence the demand for HIV Testing and Counselling has increased.
- Successful transition from paper based to electronic data capturing using iPads
In 2011, FACT with support from Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH incepted a project “Strengthening HIV prevention among youths in Manicaland and Mashonaland West Provinces” targeting young people aged 15-24 years in Mutare rural, Makonde and Zvimba districts. The goal of the project is to contribute to the reduction of high-risk behaviour among youth and to increase access to appropriate health services. To achieve maximum effect of HIV prevention and among youth, a combination of feasible and acceptable interventions is offered in selected locations. Key elements of combination prevention such as tailored behaviour change communication tools are used as entry points in the communities to create demand among youth to access SRH information and services. Central to accessing health information and for demand creation is the Join-In Circuit on HIV, Love & Sexuality (JIC), community peer education and clinic based Youth friendly Corners (YFC). In 2013 FACT took over from GIZ the coordination of the JIC in Zimbabwe.
Since November 2012 till December 2014, 1 871 girls and 1 419 boys aged 15-24 visited youth friendly corner for SRH information at Marange hospital in Manicaland Province and 3 455 girls and 3 590 boys at Alaska and Rafingora youth friendly corners in Mashonaland West Province. In the same period FACT has conducted a total of 103 JIC runs reaching to 1 703 girls and 2 006 boys in and out of school in Mutare rural (Manicaland Province) and 1 347 girls and 1 781 boys in Makonde and Zvimba districts (Mashonaland West Province).
Some critical achievements attained till December 2014 are as follows:
HIV Testing and Counseling (HTC) at mobile outreaches after JIC runs: 32% girls and 32.4% boys in Manicaland Province and 63% girls and 52.1% boys in Mashonaland West Province.
The HTC uptake by young people at Marange hospital stood at 15.8% for females and 11.9% for males whereas in Alaska and Rafingora clinics the HTC uptake was 16.3% for females and 13.8% for males.
- 3 support groups for adolescents living with HIV were established in the two provinces.
- An average of 47.65 % immediate knowledge increase after a JIC run was achieved and this was measured through pre and post tests.
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