Young people must grow up with the correct attitude of freedom, convinced that, "...a person is more precious for what one is than for what one has..."
By giving young people the opportunity to receive correct information and learn how to live by their values, we are enabling them to make the right choices and become responsible and respectful individuals
...Developing young people of Integrity, Service and Good Character - Responsible community members and Leaders of Today and Tomorrow.
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"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed young people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Life Skills And Child Protection

Zimbabwe was one of the first countries in the world to introduce a specific life skills education curriculum in schools to improve adolescent sexual reproductive health. Since this curriculum (AIDS Action Programme) was launched in 1992, service delivery had generally relaxed as the HIV prevalence rate declined. Zimbabwe's HIV prevalance rate has dropped from 34% to 14.5%. Although this is a noteworthy improvement, young people continue to face SRH related challenges such as new HIV infections, STIs and teenage pregnancies.


Life skills and SRH education has become a priority in ZimbabweResearchers have attributed these problems to the fact that less than 50% of young people in Zimbabwe aged 15-19 have access to comprehensive and accurate HIV information. Surveys conducted by YAZIM in Mutare rural district also show that children and young adults between 9 and 25 years do not have adequate SRH related life skills. As a result, they are vulnerable to STIs, HIV infection, drug addiction and pregnancy related-school drop-outs.

Life skills and SRH education has now become a priority in Zimbabwe. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary education recently developed and launched a new Education Strategy on life skills, sexuality and HIV (2013-2015).  Youth Alive Zimbabwe continues to complement Government efforts by providing life skills training and SRH education to young people in Manicaland Province.

 
 
What Are Life Skills?

Life skills are capabilities that enable individuals to adapt to and deal effectively with the stresses and difficulties of everyday life. UNICEF defines them as psycho-social abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of life.Life skills are psycho-social abilities for adaptive and positive behavior... Essentially, they are skills that enable young people to take responsibility for making healthier choices, resist negative pressures and avoiding risky behaviors. Core life skills include the capacity to:

  • Think critically and creatively
  • Make decisions and solve problems
  • Analyze values and choose value systems to live by
  • Listen and communicate well and assertively
  • Negotiate
  • Empathize, cope with emotions and stress
  • Be self-aware

 

 
Life Skills Approach to HIV Prevention

Our approach combines life skills training and development with SRH education. The process is an interactive, informative experience that does not only focus on disseminating information but on moulding positive attitudes and behaviour. The objective of our life skills programs is to enhance young people’s ability to resist negative pressures, avoid risk behaviors and make healthier choices.

We use facilitation techniques which are  youth-centered, age specific, gender-sensitive, interactive and participatory. By using group discussions, drawing, role-playing, story telling and audio-visual teaching aides, we help participants to developing essential life skills. Our program empower young people with cognitive, communication and social skills, enabling them to make responsible, informed choices and fulfil their dreams.

 

Our life skills programs are interactive, participatory and age specific Teaching techniques include songs, role plays and story telling Our life skills approach enable young people to become responsible members of the community

 
Why the Life Skills Approach?

Providing comprehensive sex education to young people will enable them to make the right choices and become responsible and respectful adults. Young people in Zimbabwe who receive age-appropriate information imparted by trained persons are less likely to become sexually active. If already sexually active, they are likely to reduce the frequency of sexual activity, the number of sexual partners, and to use contraception. Providing comprehensive sex education to young people does not encourage them to be sexually active. On the contrary, it will enable them to make the right choices and become responsible and respectful adults.

The attitudes that young people develop as they grow up influence their lives as adults, affecting them as individuals and their future relationships as spouses and parents. Information and skills provided to young people during SRH-life skills sessions can support them develop values, attitudes,and practices that respect individuals and protect their health and rights.

Additionally, providing SRH education and life skills training in schools is a cost-effective way of reaching young people enrolled in formal schools. Comprehensive sexuality education helps empower young people to protect their health and well-being as they grow and take on family responsibilities.  Evidence from studies on SRH education for young people around the world shows that effective programs can:

  • Reduce misinformation and increase accurate knowledge
  • Clarify and strengthen positive values and attitudes.
  • Increase the skills needed to make informed decisions and act upon them
  • Increase communication with parents or other trusted adults

 

Effectiveness of Our Life Skills Programs in Improving Young People's SRH

Life skills and SRH education may delay the onset of  sexual activity among younger participantsSexual reproductive health education programs which incorporate life skills development have been effective in educating youth about health-related issues such as drug use and pregnancy prevention. When younger project clients are given comprehensive SRH information it may delay the debut of sexual intercourse. On the other hand, among sexually experienced youth, it results in fewer sexual partners.

Youth Alive's Life skills education programs contribute towards reducing school dropouts and negative behaviours. We believe that these programs also lay the foundation for skills needed to live a productive and fulfilling life after completing school.

 
Projects Under the Life Skills And Child Protection Programme
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