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Communication Campaign On Adolescents launched

By Faith Chimutsa

UNICEF in partnership with the government of Zimbabwe and other partners work to expand and protect access to quality, gender-equitable education, and to improve student participation and learning that will work alongside adolescents to co-create solutions that support their transition into adult life and work.

These include and not limited to traditional and non-formal paths to education and skills development.

The adolescent brain develops at a rate unseen since early childhood making girls and boys hypersensitive to influences in their environments. Adolescents’ inclination to try new things can spark innovation and achievement, but it can also leave them vulnerable.

Addressing the media in Harare UNICEF Chief on HIV and AIDS and adolescents development Kabambe Jacqueline said adolescents’ prospects depend on the quality of their environments, relationships and experiences.

Kabande added that the care and support they receive, the services they can access, the social norms that guide their communities and the extent to which they can influence decisions that affect them all make a difference.

“Investing in adolescents strengthens their ability to advance human rights and build a bright future for themselves, their families and entire countries.Investing in adolescents builds strong economies, inclusive communities and vibrant societies,” she said.

UNICEF takes a life-course approach to adolescent development and participation, identifying critical risks and opportunities that have implications for the realization of children’s rights, from the first decade through the second.

UNICEF Representative in Zimbabwe, Tajudeen Oyewale. Pic By Shingirai Vambe

Speaking at the same occasion, UNICEF Representative in Zimbabwe, Tajudeen Oyewale highlighted that they address gaps in data to build evidence that drives action where it is most needed. With Governments and other partners, UNICEF works to strengthen health care, education and protection systems to ensure critical supplies and services reach the last mile, even in emergencies.

“We advocate for adolescents’ rights at the national level, while locally engaging families and communities often through programmes that change behaviours and social norms,” said Oyewale.

He said the emphasis on equity puts the most marginalised adolescents including girls, those who belong to ethnic or racial minorities, and those with disabilities at the centre.

UNICEF works with health providers to support gender-responsive services tailored to adolescents’ needs, including for HIV prevention and treatment.

“We support nutrition to fuel developing bodies and brains, work to ensure that girls have what they need to manage their menstrual health and hygiene, and generate evidence on adolescent mental health.

“As UNICEF works to prevent and respond to violence within families, among peers, in schools and online to keep adolescents safe and supportedWe also tackle the growing risks adolescents face in humanitarian settings, promote adolescent-friendly justice systems, and address harmful practices like child marriage and female genital mutilation,” he added.

“UNICEF empowers adolescents to actively engage and voice their views and opinions. We also work with partners, including youth organisations, to change the social norms that stand in the way, and develop platforms for adolescents to share their experiences and propose solutions,” said Oyewale.