SIMBA UTANO: Empowering Adolescent girls in Zimbabwe
Simba Utano is a 4 year project is to strengthen access to sexual and reproductive health and rights by young people in the following four districts of Zimbabwe – Mazowe, Umguza, Seke and Goromonzi.
The project focusses on young women and adolescent girls (ages 15-24), a demographic group that suffer particularly high rates of STIs, HIV and gender-based violence. While STI/HIV rates are lower among young men and adolescent boys, the project has embraced a holistic approach that recognizes that young men and adolescent boys, parents, health care workers and decision makers must all be involved if the heath indicators for adolescent girls and young women are to improve.
The project is jointly implemented by ICASO in Canada and Katswe Sistahood and Youth Engage in Zimbabwe. Funding is provided by Global Affairs Canada with contributions from the Canadian public.
The ultimate outcome (goal) of the project is to improve the health of adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) at risk of HIV in four priority districts of Zimbabwe. The project will utilize proven effective strategies and evidence-based best practices to increase the utilization and access to SRHR information and services and ultimately curb new HIV infections. Simba Utano is a four-year project that will seek to achieve the following intermediate outcomes (key objectives):
-Increased utilization of equitable SRHR and HIV services by vulnerable AGYW in 4 districts of Zimbabwe;
-Improved delivery of quality, gender responsive, inclusive care and support to address priority SRHR needs of adolescents and young people particularly AGYW;
-Improved effectiveness of young people particularly AGYW and community organizations to advocate for evidence-based, equitable, accountable and quality SRHR services and policies.
Who will we reach?
The project will be implemented in 24 selected “hotspot” wards in four districts: Seke, Mazowe, Umguza and Goromonzi. It will reach over 31,000 adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) and 12,000 adolescent boys and young men (ABYM). It will also work with parents, youth volunteers, health workers and religious and community leaders to improve the SRHR health indicators for AGYW. The project will indirectly benefit a population of 170,000 in the four districts (52% F) and will include 26,700 women of reproductive age (25-49 years). It will also influence policies at the district and national level, with lessons learned and best practices.
Project Target Population
Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW)
Adolescent Boys and Young Men (ABYM)
Young SRHR instructors (75% female)
Professional Health Service Providers (75% female)
Community Health Workers (75%female)
Key Indicators of Success
By the end of the project, at least:
-95% of the AGYW will know where and how to access SRHR services;
-95% of young SRHR instructors will have the skills and confidence to engage vulnerable AGYW and ABYM on SRHR and HIV issues;
-80% of health service providers will be able to offer youth friendly services at the facility level;
-80% of community health workers will feel comfortable in engaging young people on SRHR and HIV issues within their respective communities.
While ICASO brings technical expertise, resources and tools to enhance and support the work of the local partners Katswe Sistahood and Youth Engage bring an understanding of the national and local context along with substantial experience in working on SRHR issues with young people. Each Zimbabwe organization has developed its own development model which has been integrated into the project. While slightly different, the underlying premise of each model is to work with young people to help them better understand the issues affecting their health and to strengthen their capacity to organize, mobilize and advocate for solutions addressing those issues. The aim of both organizations is not to represent young people but to insure that young people have voices to represent themselves. A second Canadian organization had been involved with the project since its inception. Unfortunately, the Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development (ICAD) withdrew in January 2022 just prior to its dissolution in March.