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Project Safidy

Collaborating with national ministries and partner organisations to deliver rights-based sexual and reproductive health education and resources to young people across Madagascar, reducing their vulnerability to HIV, STIs and unintended pregnancies.

Summary

  • Status: Current
  • Date: March 2012 – present
  • Target population: High school youth
  • Location: Nationally across Madagascar’s 22 regions
  • Project Partners: Youth and teachers at 214 schools; the National Ministries of Health, Education, and Youth and Sport; Madagascar PHE Network

Why is it important?

Limited by the country’s under-resourced healthcare and education systems, Madagascar’s young people have few reliable options for sexual and reproductive health information.

Additionally, cultural taboos (or fady) associated with talking openly about sex, sexuality and contraception present barriers to engaging youth in necessary discussions about their bodies and rights.

With no official framework advocating for the rights of young women – indeed the opposite is true, with institutionalised gender disparities and criminalised abortion, even in cases of rape or incest – one in three girls in Madagascar have their first child before they reach the age of 18, some 15% higher than the African average (UNFPA, 2013). Early pregnancies often force girls out of school, reducing their livelihood options and increasing the burden of poverty.

Nationally an increasing number of women engage in formal or informal prostitution to support livelihoods (UNICEF, 2007; US Dept. of State, 2014). Between 2006 and 2010 the number of people testing positive for HIV in Fort Dauphin increased by 64% (Ministry of Health, 2010) and with weakening health infrastructure and services, these trends are expected to continue.

In the absence of both basic health services and information, improved sexual and reproductive health education is essential for young people to prevent unintended pregnancies and curb the spread of HIV and other STIs. Further, gender equity must be embedded in the Malagasy education system and rights-based sexual health education needs to provide young people with the advocacy skills to discuss and negotiate safer sex.

Less than 9% of young people aged 15-24 with multiple sexual partners consistently use condoms

UNICEF, 2009

What we're doing

Underpinned by a rights-based framework, SEED Madagascar provides access to quality sexual and reproductive health education. This includes the necessary tools to negotiate safer sexual relationships and the knowledge and confidence to access services that enable young people to protect themselves against the transmission of HIV and STIs and unintended pregnancies.

SEED Madagascar understands that empowering youth with the knowledge and skills to make safe and healthy sexual choices is an investment in the future of Madagascar and that we are not the only organisation pursuing this. We collaborate with a broad range of organisations to deliver comprehensive sexual education. These range from the internationally renowned PSI and Marie Stopes to national partners such as the National Ministry of Education and Madagascar Population, Health and Environment (PHE) Network, and numerous community-based organisations including ASOS and VARA.

Building on the first three phases of Project Safidy, Phase 4 is strengthening channels for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) education, resource-provision, and advocacy throughout Madagascar. In continued partnership with the National Ministry of Education, we will implement an integrated SRHR curriculum in over 214 schools across the country. To achieve a comprehensive SRHR environment, Project Safidy will strengthen a dynamic and sustainable SRHR network of partners whilst expanding SRHR outreach within communities.

Donors

Mercury Phoenix Trust and Amplify Change.

Safidy.org

Visit the Safidy project website for news, resources and member organisation details.

Safidy.org