In the News

SRH Information made readily available for Swazi youth at the touch of a button

28 July 2017

Like most African countries, Swaziland also has a very youthful population, with about 34% of the population aged 10 - 24 years, which translates to over 400,000 young Swazis. Apart from grappling with challenges that come with the changes that young people go through as they grow, they face other challenges which include HIV and AIDS, gender based violence and teenage pregnancy. These challenges are compounded by poor access to Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASRH) information & services.

In light of all these challenges that young people face, UNFPA together with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Training, Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs, Swaziland National Youth Council and Family Life Association of Swaziland committed to working towards making ASRH info accessible to young people. This is an initiative that is part of the Safe Guarding Young People (SYP) Programme. The development of this site was a consultative process which started with orientation of all partners that work on young people’s issues in the country to introduce the idea. A team of young people was assembled to get their buy in and to develop the local content. Finally, the mobisite was adapted and packaged in a youth friendly manner. July 25,2017 marked the revealing of this mobisite for Swazi youth with accurate and youth friendly packaged information on SRH, GBV and HIV information.  

This was gladly welcomed by young people who attended the launch of the Tune Me Mobile Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive health site who lamented that this site is long overdue. Sthembile Gamedze, a 21 year old young girl said “Tune me means an improvement to us young people, and the country as we move to 2022. This means we will be able to get information and solutions to problems which we cannot freely discuss with our parents and peers”. “Because the youth is so much into internet,Tune me is a valuable and easy to use site which ensures access to information and confidentiality. The future looks bright” said Sikhulile Hlatjwako, a 19-year-old adolescent girl during the launch of the mobile ASRH information site at the George Hotel in Manzini, Swaziland. Speaking at the launch, the Director of Career Guidance and Counselling Department from the Ministry of Education and Training, stated that every young person has the right to information appropriate to their age and needs. She further stated that accurate and quality information and education prepares young people to participate fully in the civic and economic sphere of the country and can serve as a buffer against living in poverty.  

The Manzini Regional Secretary Representative Prince Majahonkhe Dlamini encouraged all young people to make use of the site to make informed decisions. He further encouraged them to not to get discouraged but to persevere in life in order to succeed. He challenged the Swaziland National Youth Council to rollout and promote the mobisite in the different regions and constituencies of the country so that all young people have access to valuable ASRH information.  The UNFPA Officer in Charge Ms. Margaret Thwala-Tembe stated that the key in addressing young people’s challenges lies in providing young people with the information and tools they need to make safe and healthy choices. These must be their choices, not based on other people’s ideologies. She further stated that Tune Me is a platform that will empower young people to make those informed choices.

The launch had young people performing dances, songs, drama promoting the site. Over hundred and thirty young people attended the launch. The launch was also covered by the local media including print and electronic media.

                                                                      Young people performing at the Swaziland Tune Me launch©UNFPA Swaziland 2017