PROGRAMS & SERVICES
Message from the director
Children and young people are faced with a number of social, economic and environmental challenges. It is this time the youth need to acquire the attitudes, competencies, values, and social skills that will carry them forward to successful adulthood.
AD operates with an “education through entertainment” philosophy. Youth come to the center for its many entertainment facilities and activities. There are pool tables and board games, a gym for athletes to train, and a video room where kids can watch cartoons and educational videos. A resource centre with materials for studying and researching is available. There is even a music room where aspiring artists come to play instruments, practise, and record new songs.
Additionally, an information desk is always on display where the youth can access IEC (information, education and communication) materials and talk with their fellow youth. Africa Directions has peer educators on staff that are responsible for supervising the various “stations” (i.e., pool room, resource centre, video room, information table) the kids access. Here they interact with the youth and give information in the form of “10-minute talks.” Given kid’s short attention span and aversion to lecturing, AD has found peer educators are the key to success as there is a given trust and respect.
We work with other stakeholders to archive our moto: Giving Youth A Chance
Our JourneyAll these programs are evidence of the hard work that AD staff, mainly young people recruited from the very communities that AD serves, have been putting in, wholeheartedly trying to meet the needs of youth with a holistic approach. These successes have also been made possible with help from the various partners who have believed in the dream and work of AD.
AD’s strongest channel of information sharing and dissemination is done through its trained team of volunteer peer educators. This is a group of young people who have come together to share information on SRHR including HIV/AIDS, various life-skills, and other issues pertaining to youth. Africa Directions plans numerous workshops, training, and exchanges for these youth to give them the latest health information, link them with other organizations, and strengthen their facilitation skills. The group meets on a weekly basis in order to refresh their knowledge, learn from specialized and/or successful people, and have fun with one another. The peer educators work hand-in-hand with other likeminded organizations to develop interactive methodologies which they use when conducting outreaches in the community; they visit schools, churches, markets, and other popular places to sensitize their peers on Sexual Reproductive Health and HIV/AIDS prevention.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights as “efforts to eliminate preventable maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity, to ensure quality sexual and reproductive health services including contraceptive services, and to address sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and cervical cancer, violence against women and girls, and sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescents. The study conducted in Zambia divides SRHR into seven components: “(1) access to contraceptive information and services; (2) access to safe abortion and post-abortion care services; (3) maternal health care; (4) prevention and treatment of HIV; (5) comprehensive sexuality education; (6) violence against women and girls; and (7) rights of the marginalized populations, particularly adolescents and sex workers. AD is aims to supplement Government and other stakeholders in addressing the above mentioned SRHR components.
One of AD’s main goals is to promote gender equality by developing young girls who are well-informed, confident and empowered to take the lead. The Girls’ Club meets on a weekly basis to discuss issues that affect them as young women and provide encouragement to one another. They incorporate fun activities such as picnics, cooking lessons, aerobics, and dance lessons to attract more girls to their meetings. The members go for weekly outreaches to areas such as schools to form girls’ clubs which they then help sustain with information, skills development, and social support. Furthermore, Africa Directions has a Girls’ Day activity aimed at showcasing the power of young girls when they are given a safe space to interact freely and explore their talents and skills. AD believes that promoting youth-friendly and gender-sensitive SRHR services require a multi-pronged approach. The Girls Day helps in addressing gender issues with communities, families, service providers and community leaders, as well as the young people who come to witness the activity. This is part of the awareness-raising campaigns on negative cultural and religious norms and values that negatively affect women and how together we can deal with them.
AD offers Counselling Psychosocial Counselling Services and HIV testing services to all members of the community in an easily accessible and highly confidential manner. For instance, for those who test HIV positive, the counsellors make referrals to the local clinic for further ART (antiretroviral therapy) and encourage them to adhere to the drugs and help them find the network of HIV positive support groups.
There are a number of sporting activities available at the centre such as basketball, football, karate, boxing, and netball. Team members receive training from coaches and participate in tournaments and friendly competitions. Many successes have arisen out of this training facility, such as Esther Phiri (world renowned female boxing champion) and Fwayo Tembo (international professional footballer).
This is open seven days a week activity, providing a safe and educative environment for vulnerable young people (Children) before and after school. It is run by a child mentor who gives basic lessons in mathematics, literacy and leads the kids in numerous fun activities such as art, music, and games. For many of the vulnerable children, this is the only schooling available to them since their families are unable to pay school fees and are not able to provide uniforms, books, and other school requirements.
As AD, we believe that eliminating poverty is the first step in fighting most of the world’s biggest challenges such as Human Trafficking, Gender-Based Violence, and Early Forced Marriages, Discrimination Etc. Many studies have shown that all the issues mentioned above are poverty-related and that the most affected communities are densely populated settlements. Poverty in Zambia leads many people to do unimaginable things just so they can see the next day. Unfortunately, young women and women remain at the centre of vulnerability to this challenge. Furthermore, those that are privileged to have enough to spare are not ready to support meaning, more vulnerable women and girls will continue being affected by high levels of abuse, girls sold into early marriages and more new HIV cases recorded as a result of commercial sex work. AD aims at empowering the victims of gender-based violence as well as offer high-quality relevant free vocational skills training, entrepreneurship and empowerment of vulnerable young women and girls that cannot access tertiary education either as a result of financial difficulties or do not have the minimum required qualification to go to college or have a physical disability.