By Byron Mutingwende
The Zimbabwe Community Health Intervention Research (ZiCHIRe) true to its mandate is exhibiting at the 2019 Harare Agricultural Show where it is providing comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services and knowledge to the public.
The ZiCHIRe main thrust is focusing on the Sista2Sista Sexual Reproductive Health Rights in line with the following thematic areas:
The organisation encourages young girls and women to delay engaging in sexual debuts until the reach the age of 18 years. It is advocating for all menstrual hygiene services to be offered for free.
“The reasoning is that if sex is by choice, and one can get a condom for free, it is important to note that menstrual hygiene is not by choice hence government should craft a policy that promotes free distribution of sanitary wear,” Mr. Walter Chikanya, the ZiCHIRe Director said.
Closely related to the Sista2Sista initiative is the Brotha2Brotha programme where ZiCHIRe is taking on board young boys to provide with education on the need to respect their girl counterparts in a bid to shun sexual gender-based violence at all costs.
“By catching them young, we are teaching the boy who will mature into a responsible adult who respects women and upholds their rights,” Mr. Chikanya added.
Due to the prevailing economic challenges, ZiCHIRe found it appropriate to capacitate boys and girls with knowledge on financial matters so as to prevent them from receiving money from risky sources.
This helps especially girls to avoid engaging in sexual activities in exchange of money or other fringe benefits.
ZiCHIRe trains the young boys and girls to start small businesses to ensure self-sufficiency.
Friendship and Community
The community can be a source of problems in the upbringing of young boys and girls. ZiCHIRe is thus empowering boys and girls to make informed decisions when choosing friends so as to avoid falling into the trap of peer pressure.
ZiCHIRe capacitates young boys and girls with information regarding their sexual reproductive health rights, sex and sexuality. This helps in preventing transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted or unplanned pregnancies as well as suicidal ideation among others. This also capacitates the youths against engaging in substance and drug abuse.
Available research is showing that HIV transmission is still high among adolescents and one of the key reasons is the absence of comprehensive SRHR dialogue among parents and their children.
Through the parent-to-child communication, ZiCHIRe is initiating a favourable platform where parents can start having SRHR dialogues with their children so as to curb high transmission of HIV among adolescents.