About The Programme
The Young Health Programme in Zambia focused on improving the health and well-being of girls and boys in the Chadiza district of Eastern Province in Zambia.
The Programme, implemented by Plan Zambia in partnership with the Planned Parenthood Association of Zambia (PPAZ), has now finished after the agreed three year implementation period.
Young people make up over two-thirds of Zambia's population and contribute significantly to the economic welfare of their families and communities. However, socio-economic factors, including many cultural practices, lead to the poor health of young people who often lack access to health services and information.
The Young Health Programme in Zambia in focused on improving the health and well-being of girls and boys in Chadiza district of Eastern Province in Zambia. The Programme is being implemented by Plan Zambia in partnership with the Planned Parenthood Association of Zambia (PPAZ).
After the agreed three year implementation period, the Programme in Zambia has finished. However, the Peer Education Programme continues to ensure its long-term sustainability.
What activities are taking place locally?
- Health and sexuality education was addressed in schools through school health clubs and peer education
- Youth Action Movement (YAM) members were identified from the community and trained as Peer Educators
- Healthcare providers were trained on how to deal with young people and issues around privacy and accessibility of care. For example, a youth friendly corner was created in health centres to provide a place for young people to get information about their health, treatment and psychosocial support.
- Events and media as community radio and drama groups were used to create awareness in communities around key health issues.
What do we want to achieve through the Programme?
The programme which began in July 2011 directly benefited 22,443 young people and reached 45,583 members of the wider community.
- Mobilise community support and increase advocacy for improved access and quality of young people's health services.
- Promote information sharing, education and communication for adolescents on health issues
- Strengthen and improve the existing health services to provide quality, youth-friendly services.
What has been achieved?
- Established the YHP in nine communities in Chadiza
- 484 Peer Educators were trained. This built the capacity of adolescents to become agents of change in their own communities.
- 45,583 wider community members have been reached with adolescent health information through community meetings, drama performances and radio shows
- Significantly increase distribution of contraceptives through service providers and young people themselves
- Participated in World Aids Day celebrations where Peer Educators provided information on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and young people took part in a march and drama performances to raise awareness
- School health clubs, established by the YHP continue to meet and grow, bringing young people together from within the schools and wider community to focus on their specific health needs
- 9 youth friendly corners are now fully operational and equipped encouraging more young people to talk about their health and access services in an appropriate way
- Involving community leaders, service providers and young people in the production of adolescent health themed radio programmes to be broadcast across the region
Before YHP: As a cattle herder there was peer pressure to engage in behaviours that are risky to my health; such as sexual encounters, tobacco smoking and beer drinking.
My Story: I am one of five children and the second boy. My family are subsistence farmers and grow enough food just to feed my family. Like other boys in my community, I started herding cattle at a young age. Cattle herding is a way to make money for the payment of the bride price when a son wants to marry. My health was not the only aspect of my life to suffer when I was a herder …. I didn’t start school until I was 15 years old.
How the Young Health Programme helped me: At school I have been connected to the YHP. I have joined a health club and have taken part in meetings that are run at school by the YHP Peer Educators. I attended an Insaka which means it was a separate meeting for boys and girls to discuss health issues. At the boys’ meeting we discussed sexual and reproductive health, particularly how to care and protect ourselves from different STIs and HIV. After this we met the girls and discussed the same issues with them to learn their perspective. I am happy that I’m now able to pass this sexual reproductive health information onto my peers. Now I want to have a full education and finish grade twelve despite being older than the other students.
Before YHP: I was an alcoholic, regularly drinking large quantities and making reckless health decisions.
My Story: Before YHP I didn’t know about sexually transmitted infections and their dangers. I didn’t think or care about having unprotected sex.
How the Young Health Programme helped me: Through training to be a YHP Peer Educator, I learnt about sexual reproductive health and also about the health impact of alcohol abuse. I acquired a lot of information which has changed my way of life; moving from a risky, careless life to a sober and proactive one. I stopped drinking alcohol and focused on more positive activities. I spend most of my time at the health centre working to save other lives because of the great benefit I have experienced through YHP. I am able to talk to my friends about the importance of sexual health and encourage them to visit the health centre whenever they have a problem. Now I can happily say I know a good and bad way of living. My ambition is to work in the health sector. One day I would like to be able to manage a project like YHP myself.
Key risk factors include being sexually active at a young age; unprotected sex leading to sexually transmitted infections and HIV; harmful traditional practices such as child marriage and sexual initiation; lack of access to information or health services; a cultural silence around issues of sexuality and high rates of early pregnancy.
This young population is further affected by the significant impact of HIV, where many have to assume responsibilities to provide and care for their families and grow up with little parental guidance and support.
Our Local Partner
The Programme was implemented on the ground by Plan Zambia with the Planned Parenthood Association of Zambia (PPAZ).
PPAZ is a Zambian non-governmental organisation (NGO) which has existed since 1972 with the aim of advancing the cause of sexual and reproductive health in Zambia. PPAZ's vision is a society in which all people in Zambia enjoy equal sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and have access to quality and affordable SRHR information and services.