SWHAP in Zimbabwe took advantage of the April school holidays to hold a sexual reproductive health and rights workshop for the children of employees in its network. The workshop was held in Harare on 13 and 14 April and provided life skills training for over 30 adolescents – building the children’s capacity to prevent HIV infection, navigate peer pressure, use social media responsibly, and to resist alcohol and drug abuse. Additionally, the workshop provided a safe interactive platform for the young people to learn facts about HIV and AIDS and related health conditions such as sexually transmitted infections and cancers. They also practised assertive communication skills, learning to say “no” to unwanted advances and to respect when others say “no”.
In Kenya, SKF hosted a workshop for its employees’ children. Over 50 adolescents participated in the workshop where they were exposed to information relevant to their age and social development milestones. The interactive sessions were designed to build self-awareness and to develop goal setting and stress management skills. Such skills help young people to make a safe and healthy transition from adolescence to adulthood.
In Zambia, training was held on a weekend during the school term in May with 51 participants.
Young people and adolescents, especially young women and young key populations, continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV (avert.org). In 2016, 610 000 young people were newly infected with HIV, and in the last decade, AIDS-related deaths among adolescents have increased – whilst decreases have been observed in all other age groups (unaids.org). Providing age-appropriate information on sex and sexuality is important in enabling youth to view their sexuality in a positive way and to help them make responsible choices. Through the workplace HIV and wellness programmes, SWHAP aims for a holistic response to HIV that leaves no one behind. Employees and their spouses also receive guidance on communicating with their children on all aspects of health during network training and at wellness days.