By Edward Makuzva
HARARE- MINISTER of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Harare Metropolitan Province, Senator Oliver Chidawu said young people are lagging behind as compared to other population groups in terms of HIV knowledge including young men in Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) programmes.
Senator Chidawu was speaking at the handover ceremony of 100 bicycles to Brotha 2 Brotha mentors from National AIDS Council, Harare province in support of empowering young boys in sexual and reproductive health issues.
He added that the programme was facilitated by NAC will greatly expand the current HIV and AIDS response in the province.
“ Statistics revealed that 610 000 new HIV infections were recorded among youths (15 – 24 years) and 41% of these were young men according to the Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey (ZDHS 2016). An estimated 60% of youths in Zimbabwe use illicit drugs, with 66% of them being male users.
“Most interventions in the current response are targeting adolescent girls and young women for example Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored and Safe (DREAMS) and Sista 2 Sista. HIV infection among young women predominantly comes from young men according to ZIMPHIA 2016”, Sen Chidawu explained.
The Provincial Affairs Minister added that Zimbabwe has adopted the United Nations’ mantra, ‘leaving no one behind” and yet the boys seemed to have been overlooked hence the adoption of the Brotha 2 Brotha prevention model which is being implemented alongside the Sista 2 Sista prevention model in the HIV and AIDS response.
“It is therefore with sincere gratitude and appreciation that I thank the National AIDS Council Harare Province for their continuous unwavering support to community programmes.
“Through the provision of these bicycles it eases mobility within their areas of operation as we are moving to towards ending AIDS by 2030 Since we are still in the Covid-19 situation the Brotha 2 Brotha mentors will be crucial in spreading Covid-19 messages within their communities using the bicycles”, said Minister Chidawu .
He highlighted that the goal of the programme is to groom the adolescents boys into responsible men and reduce HIV incidence and gender based violence (GBV) as well as foster leadership, and create capable young men who are gender sensitive and contribute towards creating a better Zimbabwe.
Speaking on the same occasion, ZICHIRE –BC Programmes Officer obey Mukorera, said the programme outcomes include having boys who return to school, boys who stop using drugs, boys who speak against gender based violence and boys who know their HIV status.
He said the Brotha 2 Brotha mentors lead the mentorship groups for adolescent boys aged 10 to 24 years, who are usually left out of most Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) programs.
Mukorera added that the clubs offer safe, youth friendly comprehensive HIV, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) information through a sport centred intervention.
He added the country aims to “leave no one behind” and yet boys are not targeted and these young men are “left out” and have no other programmes specifically targeting them.
“This is a mentorship program for adolescent boys and young men that aims to provide accurate and relevant Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) and Gender transformation information provide safe spaces, nurture sport talent and create responsible young men that contribute towards a Gender Based Violence free and a healthy community.
“Brotha2brotha clubs are mentorship groups for adolescent boys and young men, who are usually left out of most health and Gender Transformation (GT) and SRH programmes. These clubs offer safe, youth friendly and comprehensive GT and SRH information through a sport-centred intervention”, Mukorera explained.
The ZICHIRE –BC Programme officer highlighted that the goal of the programme the goal of the programme is to groom the youths into responsible men and reduce HIV, STI and GBV incidences.
Meanwhile,the outcomes from the program include male role models positively influencing peers and community on & SRH including sexual abuse issues.
By Edward Makuzva