#SheConquersWellness2018: empowering, protecting and advancing South Africa

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loveLife is working with the Department of Health to direct a message to young people around South Africa about the importance of health. These are efforts aimed to decrease new HIV infections among girls and young women which will contribute, by and large, to our continuous growth as a nation.

She Conquers is a three-year campaign to decrease HIV infections; and those rates are often increased by dropping out of school, sexual and gender-based-violence and limited opportunities for economic independence. Since 2018 is the campaign’s second year anniversary, various partners have come together to be part of an activation drive across South Africa between July and August in 22 sub-districts. The campaign works towards providing every adolescent girl and young woman in the country with access to the resources that they need to lead a happy, healthy and successful life.

The youth not visiting healthcare centres for HIV tests and their hesitant commitment to use treatment when infected with HIV; insufficient condom usage; and men not taking responsibility in promoting healthy and active lifestyles and the well-being of women (the scourge of gender based violence) are red flags that inspired this multi-pronged campaign that speaks to all those key social challenges facing adolescent girls and young women.

The campaign adopted a focused approach to scale up and fast-track its efforts to empower young people, with the following objectives driving the campaign:

  • Reduce new HIV infections among girls and young women.
  • Reduce teenage pregnancies, particularly among girls less than 18 years old.
  • Communicate the importance of keeping girls in school until matric; and increase the retention of adolescent girls and young women in school.
  • Help cut back sexual and gender-based-violence against women.
  • Increase economic opportunities for young people (especially young women).

Even today, access to quality healthcare in rural areas continues to be a challenge. BWise Health is a mobisite where young people can obtain information, support and expert advice on a range of health issues ranging from HIV, substance abuse and psychological health right from their phone screens. The activations will serve as a platform to educate youth about how to use the site.

The activations will also involve community organisations who deal with health and youth development issues, to showcase and offer their services to the people living in the communities where the activations will take place.

Overall, the She Conquers Wellness 2018 drive seeks to promote knowledge, referrals and linkages to health services, including: testing and comprehensive screening services to the communities. And increase the demand and uptake (by community members, especially adolescent girls and young women) of health services; escalate the visibility of health service providers and link community service providers to facilities and schools. The activations also seek to increase participation in the Conquer Connect Clubs, run by young people in their communities, at a national level.

Every girl should have the power to make informed decisions concerning their future. This means being educated, healthy, and safe from violence. When girls gain knowledge, they can truly get a chance to become independent.

To keep tabs on the activation drive and learn about She Conquers, follow loveLife’s Facebook page.

Useful links:

She Conquers: sheconquerssa.co.za
BWise Health: bwisehealth.com
Department of Health: www.health.gov.za
Phila: phila.org.za