The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted issues such as access to health and education services, including contraception, gender-based violence and teenage pregnancy, highlighting the critical need for targeted messaging, information and resources for young people.
The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) released data showing that the pandemic could result in a projected seven million unintended pregnancies. Since July of 2019, UNESCO, SAfAIDS, UNFPA and Save the Children Sweden with support from PCI Media have been running the Let’s Talk campaign in the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) region.
The program aims to reduce early and unintended pregnancy (EUP) in 21 countries across the region to educate young people about sexual and reproductive choices. With the stay at home orders cutting off access to these vital services, Let’s Talk! is responding by launching a radio drama at the regional level and a series of webinars that address the issues of reproductive and sexual healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Tuesday 27 October, UNESCO and the Let’s Talk! campaign partners will launch Say It Louder, a six-episode webinar series which seeks to ignite conversations on different approaches to facilitate dialogue between parents/guardians and adolescents on and around sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) in general and early and unintended pregnancy (EUP) in particular.
The goal of this online engagement is to highlight the challenges facing young people, as well as available support mechanisms for adolescents, young people, parents/guardians to reach across cultural and generational barriers and have informed home-based conversations about EUP and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
The Say It Louder webinar series will address the following themes throughout the six episodes:
- Impact of COVID-19 on EUP, child marriage and access to education
- Young people’s role in reducing EUP
- Addressing increases in gender-based violence during the pandemic
- Strengthening parent-child communication: how to talk about sex, SRH and mental/emotional well-being
- Access to CSE and youth SRH services, including contraception
- Continuing education in the case of EUP: re-entry policies and reaching out-of-school youth
Each webinar will include a facilitated conversation between a moderator, three speakers, and an additional youth speaker. Moderators, speakers, and youth come from different countries and contexts across the region, representing a wide range of experiences and realities. The webinar series will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 27 October through 12 November 2020 at 14:00 hours Central Africa Time. Additional information and links to register for the webinars can be found at https://letstalkeup.com/webinars/