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Information and Advocacy mid-year report
Students and Youth Working on Reproductive Health Action Team (SAYWHAT)
June 20, 2013

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Summary of progress and achievements

With the fast growth of internet in the country, the department is refocusing its strategies in information dissemination to allow maximum use of mainly social media especially Facebook, and the organisational website. During the period under review, the department has ensured the expansion of the SAYWHAT official Facebook Page from 221 followers in January 2013 to 700 followers by the end of June.

The department continues to use various methods and strategies to ensure visibility of SAYWHAT, sensitise stakeholders and to carry out its advocacy work. In this period, the Information and Advocacy Department used research, media articles, campaigns, bulk sms, exhibitions, the website and student initiated participatory work to ensure that the message is sent to a wider audience and bring SRH challenges of students to relevant stakeholder to address.

The department ensured the production of organisational IEC materials, generating reports, exhibitions, press releases and networking platforms to ensure the visibility of SAYWHAT and ensure availability of correct, relevant and updated information on SRH to the students. In this period, the department managed to produce 1200 organisational brochures that explain SAYWHAT’s work, vision, mission, achievements and programs. To raise awareness on unplanned pregnancies 60 t-shirts and 3 banners were produced and distributed. To address issues of Gender Based Violence, a total of 100 t-shirts, 1500 pamphlets and 10 college banners were produced with all the materials distributed to all the 26 colleges where SAYWHAT operates. To ensure that students make informed choices, the department also produced materials under the theme "Wise up, Make a Difference and Graduate Alive”.

A total of 500 posters were produced with key message that encourage students to get tested and know their status. The poster, which was designed by a student under the Poster Design Competition, is one strategy that SAYWHAT uses to tap the experience of students in generating youth friendly messages that impacts the lives of students. The poster, which used the Facebook concept was distributed to more than 30 colleges and was well received by the student community. The department also managed to pen one press release in celebration of the Day of the African Child where the organisation’s key advocacy message was on the need to include and prioritise students’ reproductive health rights as we celebrate this important day.

The Information and Advocacy Department ensured the generation of evidence that informs SAYWHAT’s programming through research. Through the HASP Research Challenge, the department ensured that students participate in the generation of evidence on key SRH issues affecting them. Four students managed to come up with researches covering areas of impact of SRH commodities and services, sexual practices of college students, impact of social media in the SRH discourse and causes of multiple concurrent partnerships within the student community. The department managed to come up with a case study research with one agricultural college, which looked at attitudes and perceptions of students and lecturers about sexuality education.

To ensure skills enhancement, the information and advocacy department attended 3 capacity building trainings covering areas of research, monitoring and evaluation and gender mainstreaming.

The department however, encountered some challenges in its information dissemination agenda including some technical problems with the SAYWHAT website, which compromised the department’s ability to constantly update the website. Some of the planned activities for the half-year schedule have not yet been implemented owing to the complexity of the programs. These activities are expected to be covered in the next half-year period. These include cleaning and enhancement of the database that include numbers and email addresses of students where against a target of 10000 numbers, only 3657 have so far been collected.

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