By Letwin Nyambayo*
Star for Life Southern Africa and Hand in Hand Zimbabwe have launched a Daughters of Africa programme that will see the equality, entrepreneurship and sexual reproductive health gap in teenagers being addressed by 2030 in Namibia and South Africa, respectively.
The programme is set to benefit hundreds of high school students in 88 schools in South Africa and Namibia with the aim of reducing young women’s risk of violence and sexual exploitation, strengthening their control over their sexual and reproductive health and creating opportunities to secure economic independence for them.
In an interview, Star for life Southern Africa Program Development Manager, Christine Joao, said the programme, which focuses on sexual reproductive health, reducing gender-based violence through empowering girls and boys and promoting entrepreneurial skills, is aligned with national efforts to reaching Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
She indicated that Namibia’s Vision 2030 is a framework for a curriculum that will foster individual excellence as well as promote values and skills for community development.
“Star for Life’s training manuals will be developed and clarified and 12 coaches will be employed to allow more time per school, thereby increasing attendance and training opportunities.
“Other natural actors will also be involved – such as custodians, school leaders, school staff, local health clinics and authorities. Hand in Hand Zimbabwe will help train Star for Life’s entrepreneurship staff,” she said.
Hand in Hand Zimbabwe Chief Executive Officer, Felix Tete, said the project seeks to rescue young people from structural poverty and inequality in Namibia and South Africa.
“Our project seeks to counter a culture of disempowerment that is several generations deep.”
Through the project, they will assist schools in formulating a Code of Conduct that explicitly addresses the lack of equality and respect in all forms.
“We also want to produce increased awareness of gender issues in learners and teachers and create a school environment that promotes gender equality,” he said.
He added that the project, Daughters of Africa, is an example of how funders and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) come together to help realise the goals that governments have set for the advancement of their populations within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The project is being funded by Stars for Life Sweden and Hand in Hand Sweden.
The Star for Life project was formed in 2005 based on the conviction that when you support young people to develop a healthy level of self-esteem and belief in their future, they will be inspired to perform well in several areas of life.
By early 2007, the Star for Life programme was launched in Namibia. Today, it is being implemented with success in 120 schools in South Africa and Namibia.
Hand in Hand Zimbabwe is an NGO whose main aim is to help poor and marginalised people create better livelihoods for themselves and their families in rural Zimbabwe.
This is done through a help to self-help approach, mainly aimed at women and the youth.
*Letwin Nyambayo is the media and communication officer for Hand in Hand Zimbabwe