Case Study: A Youth Led Approach to Adolescent Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights Programming

The Challenge
The Eastern Cape is the third largest province in South Africa, with 57% of its 7 million residents below the age of 30 (StatsSA).Young people are disenfranchised and unable to drive change in communities, take action as empowered citizens and influence public policy processes that affect their lives. HIV prevalence in South Africa is 19.2% (UNAIDS Gap Report 2016), with new infections highest amongst young women aged 20-24 (21% compared to 5.1% amongst men of the same age). It is estimated that 15,538 young women between the ages of 15 and 24 years (2% of the Eastern Cape young women population) were newly infected with HIV in 2015 (ECAC 2016). Teenage pregnancy is the highest in the country. Sexual and Gender Based Violence is widespread (though largely unreported), impacting heavily on the vulnerability of girls to early and unprotected sex, unwanted pregnancy and HIV infection. Police fail to offer a conducive environment for vulnerable youth -especially girls – to access justice for sexual abuse. Approximately two thirds of the population live in rural areas. There is an absence of structures in rural areas to equip young people with the necessary information, skills, support and services to protect themselves and to improve their lives.

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