Hivos through its Regional SRHR Fund, on Tuesday May 18th 2021 launched the Consent to Access Campaign (#Consent2Access). The Campaign is aimed at promoting adolescent access to Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) information and services. The campaign aims to achieve this through advocacy for improved laws, policies and practices on age of consent for adolescent access to SRH information and services in East and Southern Africa.
The Consent to Access Campaign comes at a critical time when consent requirements act as a major barrier to adolescent access to SRH information and services, more so at a time when most countries in East and Southern Africa lack clear laws and policies on age of consent to SRH services. Where policies exist, there is no harmonization across SRH services thereby creating challenges for both adolescents seeking services and health care providers who provide SRH services.
During the launch, Hivos emphasised the urgent need to address access barriers that adversely impact on young people’s access SRH information and services. “We must not be the generation that denies adolescents access to SRH information and services. We know the impact that inadequate access to information and services has on adolescents and their wellbeing. Our role is to ensure that we act to bring about change that enables access to accurate information and high-quality services”, said Chivuli Ukwimi, Regional SRHR Fund Programme Manager at Hivos Southern Africa.
Key note speakers underscored the need for explicit, clear and comprehensive laws and policies that support adolescent access to SRH information and services. “The development of the laws and policies should be guided by the ‘best interest of the child’ principle, giving recognition to their evolving capacities” said Dr. Godfrey Kangaude a leading expert in the field. He further highlighted how focusing on a specific age of consent may be discriminatory to some adolescents who may need information and services.
The Consent to Access Campaign is part of the Regional SRHR Fund’s advocacy and communication efforts implemented with support from the Embassy of Sweden in Lusaka through its development cooperation agency, Sida and Ford Foundation.
For the further information and campaign details please contact Chivuli Ukwimi at firstname.lastname@example.org and Nana Zulu at email@example.com. Also follow us on twitter @CafeSRHR for more news and information from the campaign implementation.