UNESCO in collaboration with ministries of education and health from 33 Sub-Saharan African countries including Zimbabwe is launching the second phase of the landmark Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future(O3) Programme.
As the largest school-based programme on education for health and well-being in Africa, the ambitious O3 Programme plans to equip 44 million adolescents and young people with good quality, accurate and rights-based sexuality education and school violence prevention programmes.
The programme aims to build adolescents’ and young people’s agency to make healthier and more informed decisions about their health and well-being.
In a statement, UNESCO said young people (aged 10 to 24) face significant obstacles such as high rates of school dropout, new HIV infections, gender-based violence (GBV), and early and unintended pregnancies (EUPs).
“While knowledge about HIV has improved, further progress is still needed to promote safe behaviour. According to the latest available DHS data, the percentage of adolescent girls and boys who correctly respond to five basic questions about HIV is below 40 percent in most countries. Gender disparities in education persist, with many children unable to access formal education or remaining out of school due to EUPs, child marriage, HIV, and GBV,” read the statement.
“The O3 Programme has made a profound difference during its first phase directly impacting over 34 million young people. Through comprehensive teacher training initiatives, over 500,000 teachers have been equipped to provide effective sexuality and life skills education. Focused on higher and tertiary education settings, the O3 PLUS project launched, in 2021 has benefited 88,000 students addressing their unmet need for sexuality education and access to SRH services.”