Soul City Regional Programme makes great strides beyond borders

The work done by the Soul City Institute goes beyond the borders of South Africa to neighbouring African countries that face similar challenges. Through the Soul City Regional Programme, the institute has been working with seven local organisations (regional partners) for the past ten years.

The regional programme partners include:

  • Phela in Lesotho
  • Pakachere in Malawi
  • Desert Soul in Namibia
  • Nweti in Mozambique
  • Lusweti in Swaziland
  • Kwatu/ZCCP in Zambia
  • Action in Zimbabwe

“Our historic partnership with these regional organisations has had a positive impact in the lives of people of that region,” said Tafadzwa Madondo, Soul City Regional Programme Manager. “Our current focus has been on addressing sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) issues affecting youth and mobile populations in Southern Africa and we have begun to see the shift in behaviour change.”

The regional partnerships have contributed to effective development and dissemination of Social Behaviour Change Communication at country level to create SRHR awareness and the link to HIV. Some key activities the regional partnerships have embarked on include:

  1. Developing SRHR pamphlets for sex workers at borders in Namibia, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe
    Stakeholder consultations and audience research were held to identify the relevant topics, gaps and information prior to the production of the pamphlets. Each country partner in the regional programme conducted stakeholder interviews with 2-3 organisations and also conducted FGDs and IDIs with sex workers at border areas. The results from this formative research was then put into one message brief to be used to develop pamphlets that are country specific and speak to issues affecting sex workers at country level.
  2. Production of Audio materials for Truck Drivers CDs and USBs
    As a strategy to reach truck drivers at border areas and create awareness on HIV prevention for SBCC, Soul City is re-producing a total of 2000 CDs and 100 USBs to be distributed in Namibia, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The CDs and USBs will have OneLove radio drama stories with country specific content and they will be distributed amongst truck drivers in the border areas.
  3. Set up of TVs and DVDs at wellness centres by borders areas
    Soul City through its regional partners has managed to set up TVs and DVDs in wellness centres at border areas of Namibia, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe (Beitbridge, Chirundu, Mwanza,Muchinji,and Caprivi Region). These TVs and DVDs are being used to screen Soul City Untold and Love stories short films for mobile populations and community members at border areas.
  4. Production of 2 youth SRHR TV talk shows in Malawi and Swaziland
    Soul City is supporting Pakachere (Malawi) and Lusweti (Swaziland) to produce TV talk shows targeted at young people between the ages of 12-25years. The aim of the TV shows is to create awareness, promoting self-efficacy, shifting attitudes and norms, and impacting on behaviours of youths as primary target audience on sexual and reproductive health rights.
  5. Development of youth SRHR booklet in 7 countries
    Soul City has worked with the 7 country partners in the regional programme to develop SRHR booklets. The literature reviews conducted in year 1 revealed gaps and issues at national level around SRHR and young peoples, to guide the development of the booklets. First drafts of the SRHR booklets for Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe are currently under review, the other countries are still working on the content development for booklets.
  6. E-platforms and knowledge management
    The Soul Beat Africa platform has launched a SRHR website highlighting the specific focus areas of the SRHR initiatives in Africa – youth, sex workers, and mobile/border populations, as well as information related to Advocacy, Radio, Television, Print, Evaluations and Materials. Soul City materials and regional partner materials have been published on this website and highlighted in the Soul Beat newsletter.
  7. Formative research on female condom and youth (UNFPA)
    The formative research in Malawi was conducted with the support of Pakachere Institute for Health and Development Communication. The research was in the form of Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and in depth interviews with young people between the ages of 15 and 24 years. The Literature Review is a desktop review. The key focus for both the formative and the literature review is to understand youth knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of female condom use. Once completed the results will be used to develop a DVD that addresses female condom use amongst youth in Africa.
  8. Social Media training workshop for young people in Africa (UNFPA)
    Soul City with the support of UNFPA held a 5-day social media workshop from 12 – 16 August 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The purpose of the training workshop is to enhancing capacity of 60-70 young people from Africa on the use social media as an advocacy strategy to address the inter linkages between SRH, gender equality, HIV prevention and poverty reduction. At the end of the training the participants developed work plans on how they are going to use different social media platforms to promote and create awareness of SRHR for young people at country level.
  9. Mapping of youth SRH and HIV Prevention Programmes and Organisations in ESARO (UNFPA)
    The focus of the mapping survey is to update and broaden the scope of the Survey Report produced by UNFPA in 2006. The survey will focus on establishing information on the status of youth programming, including SRH and HIV prevention programmes, at country level in Eastern and Southern Africa. The survey is still underway and is scheduled to be completed in September 2013.
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