Access, Services and Knowledge (ASK): What young people want, what young people need.

Aidsfonds (previously STOP AIDS NOW!) has co-developed and is currently implementing the ASK programme in Kenya and Uganda. The programme is a joint initiative and aims to improve the SRHR of young people (10-24 years) by increasing young people’s uptake of SRH services.

The Dutch Youth Empowerment Alliance (YEA), consisting of Rutgers WPF, Simavi, AMREF Flying Doctors, CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality, dance4life, and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) has, jointly with 59 local partners, developed the programme Access, Services, and Knowledge (ASK): What young people want, what young people need. This program is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the SRHR Fund. It runs from 2013-2015 and aims to improve the SRHR of young people (10-24 years) by increasing young people’s uptake of SRH services. The programme is being implemented in 7 Development Assistance Committee (DAC) countries: Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal, Pakistan and Indonesia.

Aidsfonds (previously STOP AIDS NOW!) and its local partners in Kenya and Uganda bring an important added value to the programme by:

The development of a comprehensive and integrated approach to SRH and HIV prevention

Aidsfonds (previously STOP AIDS NOW!) and Rutgers WPF have developed two tools that organisations can use to increase the effectiveness of prevention programmes and measure impact: Planning and Support Tool and
Are you on the right track?. Both tools are evidence and rights based and they are implemented by building the capacity of Trainers who can then work with organisations to use the tools and implement effective programmes. In addition, an e-learning course for Trainers is currently being developed. STOP AIDS NOW! has also developed a guide for professionals on how to address the needs of young people living with HIV, ensuring that partners’ programmes will not only focus on HIV negative youth, but also address the needs of young positives, and thus making programmes more integrated. In similar approach as above,  local partners of YEA members are trained to use this guide.

Strengthening youth-friendliness and SRHR and HIV integration in services, and Preventing rights violations of young pregnant HIV women living with HIV

Aidsfonds (previously STOP AIDS NOW!) works with local partners to document and support subsequent replications and scale up of successful home-grown models to prevent right violations in SR settings. A tool will be produced that captures Mama’s Club and WOFAK’s methods of: integrating counsellors – charged with not only providing support on health issues and services but also for recording suspected cases of rights violations and following up on them – at health facilities; holding dialogue sessions between young pregnant women living with HIV and health care providers at health facilities; and engaging in dialogue with Ministries of Health on cases of rights violations. YEA members and its local partners will be supported to use the tool and replicate Mama’s Club’s and WOFAK’s methods.

Increasing access to ARVs and other RH commodities.

Through Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), Aidsfonds (previously STOP AIDS NOW!) supports the national Ministries of Health and the National Medical Stores (NMS), in two key activities: 1) forecasting, so that the right drugs in the right quantities are ordered, and 2) ensuring that drugs ultimately reach the patients that need them. To accomplish the first of these activities, data is collected from a variety of sources and used to create detailed forecasts, accounting for trends affecting the usage of drugs, pipeline stock and the stock of drugs that are already in-country. This ensures that commodity budgets are spent appropriately on drugs that are most needed. To ensure drugs reach patients, CHAI support the NMS on a variety of initiatives, such as identifying facilities that do not submit regular orders for commodities so that these facilities can be followed up.

Supporting young people living with HIV in advocacy and gathering evidence to articulate their needs

Aidsfonds (previously STOP AIDS NOW!) works closely together with organisations of people living with HIV. For this programme, we specifically focus on young people living with HIV. In collaboration with GNP+, Y+, and Population Council. STOP AIDS NOW! will support four selected youth organisations of young people living with HIV. These groups will be trained in research and gathering evidence to enable them to show violations of their rights or needs that are not being addressed using the Positive, Health, Dignity and Prevention Framework. This information is then used in programme development, awareness-raising and advocacy.

The Youth Empowerment Alliance aims to secure youth participation in the development, implementation and evaluation of all country programmes. Partners of STOP AIDS NOW! have the expertise to focus on and work with young people living with HIV.

Meet & Greet Juliana Odindo, who is one of the youth advocates and involved in the research in the ASK programme, and Ed Ngoksin, who is the Key Populations Officer at GNP+ and a very experienced and important youth-capacity building partner in both the ASK programme as well as the pilot project ‘Addressing the Needs of Young People Living with HIV’. Juliana and Ed both stress the importance of the active and meaningful involvement of young people living with HIV in research and advocacy, to increase impact and address the specific needs of young people living with HIV.

“It is very important for me to be involved in this ASK project. I know the outcomes of the project are going to be right and fit for us as the research and advocacy  is going to be done by us; young people living with HIV and AIDS. (…)I will spread my wings and reach so many people! I know I am going to change lives!” - Juliana, a 21 year old woman living with HIV. Juliana works for NEPHAK, one of the implementing partners in Kenya.

Increasing political commitment to improve sexual health outcomes for young people.

UNESCO will specifically work with the Ministries of Health and Education to: raise awareness of the SRH needs of young people; to support the development of action plans to improve outcomes for young people’s SRH, and; to support a signature and then implementation of a high level political commitment to improve sexual health outcomes for young people in East and Southern Africa. UNESCO will specifically support consultation with civil society and collaboration between civil society and government on issues of relevance to young people and their SRH.