According to a presentation made by the Department of Basic Education on Tuesday, 12.67 % of the country's population are adolescent girls and young women and they are said to be among the most vulnerable. This is particularly the case when it comes to teenage pregnancies in schools.
The department revealed this while presenting to the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education.
As part of its multi-faceted intervention approach, the department has developed a number of programs that are currently in place. These include:
The HIV prevention conditional grant,
This is a conditional annual grant of R245 million since 2020. The purpose of the grant is to aid the department in implementing the revised HIV, STI and TB policies in schools and across all provinces.
The integrated school health policy
This is a policy initiative carried out in collaboration with the Department of Health. It is an initiative with the aim of improving the health of school-going children and their respective communities.
The Social Impact Bond
The social impact bond is a trial initiative by the Basic Education Department, done in collaboration with the Medical Research Council. It aims to test a Social Impact Bond in the provision of sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents and youth in the South African secondary school environment.
The Education Plus Initiative
According to the presentation, the Education Plus Initiative is a high-profile, high-level political advocacy drive to accelerate actions and investments to prevent HIV. It is centered on the empowerment of adolescent girls and young women and the achievement of gender equality in sub-Saharan Africa with secondary education as the strategic entry point.
The Gender-based Violence and Gender Equity Programming
This programme has been in place in schools for about a decade and serves to achieve the Constitutional vision of a non-sexist society and gender equality. The Framework is based on the Cabinet-approved implementation plan adopted on 27 March 2019.
The Let’s talk initiative
The Let’s talk initiative, according to the presentation was launched in 2019 by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. This initiative primarily focuses on early and unintended pregnancies, by bringing together girls who have experienced unplanned pregnancies and having them share their experiences with those that have gone through the same experience.
In addition to this, the Department has also been working on other school-based Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) programs that do not happen during school times.
They include the PEPFEAR DREAMS program: The Determined Resilient Empowered AIDS-free Mentored and Safe, this forms part of an ambitious public-private partnership aimed at reducing rates of HIV among adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in the highest HIV burden countries.
The last of these programs are the Global Fund AGYW and the Government to Government Agreement (G2G) AYGW.