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Safeguard Young People Programme

Imagine what it would be like if all adolescents and young people in Southern Africa were healthy, productive and empowered. Imagine them being free from sexually transmitted infections, including new HIV infections, unintended pregnancies, child marriages and sexual violence. This is the future that UNFPA envisions.

About the Programme

Since 2013, SYP has been empowering adolescents and young people aged 10 to 24 years (with special focus on adolescent girls) to protect themselves from STIs including HIV, early and unintended pregnancy, unsafe abortion, early marriage, gender-based violence and harmful cultural practices, while promoting gender-equitable norms.

To ensure effective direction and strategic guidance for the programme, a Regional Programme Steering Committee (RPSC) was established in 2014. The role of the regional RPSC is to provide policy and strategic guidance, and make appropriate strategic decisions. The committee also approves the annual workplans of the SYP implementing countries.

The programme has been implemented in eight Southern African countries - Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. 

Phase I and II

The first phase of the programme, which ended in December 2016, included the following key activities:

- Developing multi-year national operational plans aligned to the regional proposal
- Conducting a baseline study and many focused assessments
- Capacity building for implementing partners
- Developing/adapting programme educational packages
- Identification and scaling up of best and promising practices
- This phase was funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), UNFPA Supplies (formerly Global Programme on Reproductive Health Commodity Security) and the UNFPA/UNAIDS-implemented SRH and HIV Linkages Project, co-funded by the European Union and the Swedish International Development Agency.

The second phase began in February 2017 and ended in December 2019. This built on the achievements of the first three years of implementation, supporting scale up of interventions that improve adolescents and young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights through harmonization of laws and policies, integration of comprehensive sexuality education and/or social behaviour change communication (SBCC) programmes for in- and out-of-school adolescents and youth, and institutionalization of youth-friendly health services. It also addressed harmful practices, gender-based violence, gender inequality, boys’ involvement and youth participation.

Phase III

SYP is currently in Phase III (2020-2022) and will continue to build on UNFPA ESARO’s experience and technical expertise on adolescent sexual and reproductive health rights programming globally, regionally and nationally, as well as on the expertise of the newly established Middle Income Countries’ (MICs) Hub, a team of technical and operational regional staff dedicated to addressing the needs of vulnerable populations in MICs in collaboration with other regional programmes.

Phase III builds on the achievements obtained in Phase I and II while focusing on policy and legislative implementation, and quality of services provided. In addition to mainstreaming SRHR into existing economic empowerment programmes, emerging issues in Phase III include gender transformation, Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) and its link to referral services, climate change adaptation strategies, menstrual health management and universal health coverage (UHC). The programme will be looking at opportunities to accelerate progress towards UHC through building and expanding equitable, resilient, adolescent responsive and sustainable health systems.

SYP enters new territory for the next five years

Angola, Mozambique, Rwanda and Tanzania join the family

SYP is spreading its reach to four more countries in the East and Southern Africa region ​​– Angola, Mozambique, Rwanda and Tanzania – for the programme’s next five-year cycle.

The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands has provided US$ 11 million for the programme in Angola and Mozambique for this cycle, in addition to its regional SRHR and HIV & AIDS programme for Southern Africa. In these two countries, the programme will scale up existing interventions for adolescents and young people using a human rights and gender-based equality approach across multiple sectors. This includes building an enabling policy and legal environment, expanding access to quality youth-friendly, integrated HIV and SRHR services, delivering comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) in and outside formal classroom settings, and strengthening youth leadership, participation and empowerment.

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), which has supported the SYP programme since its inception in 2013, is extending the programme to East Africa, starting with Rwanda and Tanzania. The agency has provided additional support for the expansion into Mozambique in collaboration with The Netherlands Embassy. SDC has provided funding of over US$ 9 million for 2021 to 2023.

The four additional countries mean an expanded SYP footprint of 12 countries in East and Southern Africa. 

Register on Tune Me is a mobile site (mobisite) designed for low- and high-end devices in environments where high data charges and poor network coverage combine to limit access to online services.

Through social features and content designed to engage users rather than lecture, Tune Me aims to equip adolescents with the information and motivation they need to make better choices.

Adolescents access Tune Me through the internet browser on their mobile phone or through Facebook’s platform.

The Tune Me site is also available on Free Basics which allows any young person with a mobile phone to access the platform without the limitation of data or wifi connectivity. TuneMe is available in Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. There are more than 300 stories on the site, covering diverse sexual and reproductive health topics and concerns of young people. The mobisite also boasts of a youth-friendly clinic finder by geo-location, including feedback mechanisms to track quality of care as well as an option for users to ask an expert on sexual and reproductive health issues and to share their own stories. 

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