Safeguard Young People – Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

Project completed

The UNFPA Safeguard Young People programme contributes to the reduction of HIV infections and improved sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people (aged 10-24) in eight Southern African countries. It supports the adoption, domestication and implementation of regional policies and helps increase young people’s knowledge, skills, agency, and equitable access to integrated HIV/SRHR services. The SYP leverages one of Switzerland’s 15 priority multilateral organizations to achieve the Swiss goal of wide regional impact.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Southern African Development Community (SADC)
Reproductive health & rights
Sexually transmitted diseases incl. HIV/AIDS
Health education
Medical services
01.01.2020 - 30.06.2023
CHF  9’658’520

Although the rate of new HIV infections is going down, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region saw 800’000 new infections in 2018, which constitute just under half of the global total. The region is home to the largest number of people living with HIV.

Adolescents and young people experience the highest rate of HIV related deaths. While female youths have higher HIV incidence rates, their male counterparts die more often from HIV. SADC also has high levels of early child and forced marriages, which in 2015 were estimated to affect 37 percent of girls in Eastern and Southern Africa equating to 7 million child brides.

Laws, systems and services related to SRHR are still inadequately implemented despite the number of commitments made by governments in various fora. Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) programmes are estimated to reach 45-50 percent of young people.

Objectives The overall goal of the project is to improve the SRHR status of young people aged 10 – 24 years and reduce the HIV incidence in the region by 2022.
Target groups

Primary Target Group: Adolescents and young people (10-24), both girls and boys.

Secondary Target Group: SADC, SADC Parliamentary Forum, Ministries of Health, Education and Youth, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Youth Service organisations (YSOs), Youth Led Organisations (YLOs), Parliaments, Parents, teachers, health providers, outreach workers and other youth serving implementers, decision makers, traditional leaders, community leaders – list not exhaustive.  

Medium-term outcomes

-    Improved inclusive policies, legislations and accountability mechanisms for the promotion and protection of adolescents and young people’s rights at regional, national and sub-national levels with a focus on SRHR;

-    Adolescents and young people utilise knowledge, skills and agency to make informed decisions and take positive actions about their body, their life and their world;

-    Increased equitable access to quality SRHR, GBV and HIV integrated services, which are adolescents and youth friendly.


Expected results:  

-    Domesticate  regional policies, enact legislations and accountability mechanisms on SRHR; 

-    More than 76 million condoms distributed; 

-    Over 8 million young people (boys and girls) reached with SBCC/CSE Programmes;

-    2,5 million learners receive inclusive and quality CSE lessons;

-    1,5 million adolescents and young people reached with integrated SRHR, HIV, and gender based violence (GBV) services;

-    1,1 million unintended pregnancies averted in Eswatini, Malawi and Zimbabwe;

-    28’000 out-of-school boys and girls educated on how to respond to effects of climate change, environment and disaster risks as they pertain to SRHR, HIV, GBV and general wellbeing;

-    1’100 regional youth network members trained in advocacy for SRHR and youth development.

Results from previous phases:  

An August 2019 independent evaluation of phases I & II concluded that the SYP largely achieved most of its intended results. The multi-sectoral approaches used were effective and the SYP remains relevant with an observed need to strengthen the service delivery components in phase III.

-    SADC Member States continued to domesticate policies adopted at a regional level;

-    The SADC Secretariat recognized the SYP as a sole programme that fully operationalizes the East and Southern Africa Ministerial (ESA) Commitment on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) and SRHR services for adolescents and young people; 

-    6.6 million adolescents and young people were reached with Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) interventions and an additional 2.5 million young people with SRHR and HIV services.

-    107’623’144 condoms were distributed to adolescents and young people.

-    540’000 young people aged 15-24 got to know of their HIV status after being tested.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
Private sector
United Nations Organization (UNO)
  • Foreign private sector South/East
  • United Nations Population Fund

Other partners
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
Coordination with other projects and actors

National Ministries of Health, Youth, Gender, and Education

The EU HIV/SRHR Linkages project, UN-EU Spotlight Initiative, SADC Strengthening M&E and Reporting of OVC&Y Project, SDC Global Institutions Division, REPSSI, SAT, Ruedi Luethy Foundation (RLF), CHIEDZA Menstrual Health Management (MHM), Action Aid International (AAI) and MiET Africa. 

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    9’658’520 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    9’179’915
Project phases

Phase 3 01.01.2020 - 30.06.2023   (Completed)

Phase 2 01.02.2017 - 31.12.2019   (Completed) Phase 1 01.08.2013 - 31.01.2017   (Completed)