We trained 51 staff members at Campus Health Service who now provide sexual and reproductive health information to students.
This is the number of young women who attended the dialogues described below. Participating adults, as well as students participating in the university-wide events, were not disaggregated by gender and are therefore not included in this total.
Estimated girls & women affected
This number is the most recently reported total student body population at the four University of Johannesburg campuses. We presume that many of the students who attended Ipas events have social networks and share their knowledge with peers. Additionally, the Campus Health Service staff we trained provide services to all students at the four campuses.
Estimated community members affected
A year ago, you donated to help South African students make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health. Many young women in the country are unaware that abortion is legal and do not know where to find sexual and reproductive health services. Ipas met with University of Johannesburg officials and key stakeholders to develop a project plan. We trained 51 staff members at Campus Health Service who now provide sexual and reproductive health information to students. In collaboration with Campus Health Service, we hosted Sexually Transmitted Infections/Condom Awareness Week in February of this year. In our first report, we described Ipas’s role in the August 2013 Sexuality Festival. Throughout the project, we also conducted six educational two-day workshops for approximately 210 students focused on sexual and reproductive health. During the workshops, students received information on:
- healthy sexuality and healthy sexual behaviors
- prevention of unintended pregnancy with contraception, including proper condom use and emergency contraception
- the prevalence and impact of Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV/AIDS
- the services available to them through Campus Health Service
We went on to support the planning and implementation of two similar one-day workshops, which were conducted by the newly-trained Campus Health Service staff. Finally, we were able to develop and test informational materials to be distributed and posted across the campuses.
Students and Campus Health Service staff shared the following: “Thank you very much for the support. You have always been there at every intervention that involved sexual and reproductive health issues. The impact at the University of Johannesburg will remain with us in the years ahead.” “Good thing Campus Health advertises services so that students know that not only HIV related services are being provided but all sexual and reproductive health issues are catered for as well.”
Risks and challenges
The main challenge we experienced was ensuring that our activities did not interfere with other academic priorities and the university calendar. As a result, we planned some of the activities on weekends. An ongoing challenge faced at the university is occasional space shortages at the four Campus Health Service Centers. The Primary Health Service Center is working quickly to resolve this issue and ensure students have continuous access to services.
What we’ve learned
Students were enthusiastic to learn new, accurate sexual health information with their peers. The workshops were a good opportunity for them to discuss the positive side of sexual health, including developing and maintaining a positive sense of self, emotional well-being, strong relationships, and safer sex. Although fewer male students than female students participated, they played an important role in the dialogue, demonstrating their support for their partners. In the future, we would include Primary Health Clinic peer educators in the planning for all the workshops, particularly as they are able to recruit participants from all four University of Johannesburg campuses.
We do anticipate a continued need to empower students in making informed choices regarding their sexual health, but this particular project will be ending as Ipas is closing its doors in South Africa. Ipas will continue our work to empower young women, including university students, in the other countries we serve. See www.ipas.org for more details!
Amount spent so far
Travel of Ipas staff to the different campuses
Materials for educational workshops
Reduce maternal mortality, ensure girls’ & women's sexual & reproductive health
We held our first meetings with the University of Johannesburg administrators and Campus Health Service staff. The purpose of these meetings was to inform them of the project, present the project plan, and discuss roles and responsibilities. At this time, we have identified nine Campus Health staff that will support our efforts to extend sexual and reproductive health information to students.
The attached photos show University of Johannesburg students receiving information on sexual and reproductive health, asking questions related to family planning, and learning more about services provided by Campus Health Service. This event took place at the sexuality festival held during the last week of August 2013.
Risks and challenges
The main challenge we have going forward is to ensure that our activities do not interfere with the academic timetable. As a result, we may conduct some activities over the weekend.
The following comments were made by students and staff during the festival noted above: “Good thing the Campus Health advertises services so that students know that not only HIV-related services are being provided but all sexual and reproductive health issues are catered for as well.” “Events such as the sexuality festival reach a range of students; the information stalls provided by external partners i.e. sexual assault support, churches, provincial department of health, Ipas, and career counseling services allow students to get everything at once.”
For the rest of the project period, we will focus on the following key activities: •Finalize and test informational reproductive health materials.
- Train Campus Health Service staff on sexual and reproductive health and rights, including information on safe termination of pregnancy.
- Conduct 6 educational 2-day workshops for students.
- Plan and support secondary workshops conducted by Campus Health Service staff on sexual and reproductive health and rights topics.
- Supervise Campus Health Service staff and discuss progress of the project.
Many South Africans lack the basic knowledge about their sexual and reproductive health and rights. Let’s change that.
Why we care: Young women in South Africa are unaware that abortion is legal and don’t know where to turn for abortion services.
How we’re solving this: Conduct workshops to increase University of Johannesburg student and staff’s reproductive health knowledge and strengthen abortion referral system.
South Africa’s liberal abortion law has helped to reduce maternal deaths and injuries by making safe abortion care more available. But this progress is threatened because many South Africans, especially young women, aren’t knowledgeable about the law and where services are provided. They also lack basic knowledge about their sexual and reproductive health and rights.
The first phase of this project was started in June 2012. Forty university staff (faculty members, social workers and health providers) participated. It explored their values and attitudes in relation to sexual and reproductive health topics, including unintended pregnancy and abortion. This resulted in University of Johannesburg conducting awareness campaigns to address sexual and reproductive rights for students.
With additional funding, Ipas will be able to conduct a series of 6 educational 2-day workshops for 30 – 45 participants to increase University of Johannesburg students’ and student counselors’ SRH knowledge and skills at four campuses. We will also be able to work to strengthen the referral system and networks between university clinics and public institutions. The project will increase counseling capacities among university faculty and health clinic staff and will create a group of staff with the resources and mechanisms for continuing to educate future groups of students.