Our Work | Regional Programmes (RP)

Changing the River’s Flow

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Sonke Gender Justice and SAfAIDS are implementing a two-year gender-transformative programme which seeks to transform gender roles and to promote more gender-equitable relationships between young men and young women; and to reduce HIV and gender-based violence (GBV), teen pregnancies and barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) among young people) aged 10 – 24 years of age in Zimbabwe by 2017.

Entitled “Changing the River’s Flow – A gender Transformative Programme for Young People (CTRF 4 YP)”, the programme works in Zimbabwe and it is aimed at marginalised communities that are hard to reach. It targets the farming and mining communities in the following areas:

  • Nyanga district, which is situated in Manicaland province in northern Zimbabwe;
  • Hangwe district, which is situated in Matabeleland North province in north-western Zimbabwe;
  • Chiredzi district, in Masvingo province, which is located in south-east Zimbabwe; and
  • Seke district, in Mashonaland East province.

The programme’s objectives are to:

  • Build the capacity of local partners on gender norms transformation;
  • Promote positive gender norms and values among young people to reduce GBV and HIV;
  • Engage community leaders and parents to reduce harmful cultural and religious practices; and to
  • Advocate for laws and policies that enhance equitable gender norms transformation.

Its expected outcomes are to:

  • Have more girls and boys practicing equitable gender norms in their communities;
  • Reduce harmful traditional and religious practices that fuel GBV and HIV; and to
  • Help develop and implement policies that address GBV for positive SRH&R outcomes for young people.

External consultants were commissioned to conduct a baseline survey that would help us to benchmark and set indicators for the implementation of the different components of the Changing the River’s Flow for Young People (CTRF 4 YP) programme.

The baseline survey was necessary to help determine perceptions, attitudes and practices of boys and girls (in and out of school) towards gender norms and equality within schools and communities; to determine perceptions, attitudes and practices of parents, guardians and community leaders towards gender norms and equality in the socialisation of boys and girls; and to assess to what extent the school and community environment is conducive for gender equality.

In summary, the survey found that:

  • The low level of knowledge on HIV and SRHR among young people is concerning and calls for special attention to address this gap;
  • Harmful gender norms and practices are existent and they are real hindrances to the fight against HIV and AIDS;
  • Findings are consistent with expectations and other similar surveys in general; and
  • Findings confirm the relevance of the programme in the targeted areas and audience.

Key highlights of the baseline survey can be accessed here and the full report is here.

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