O3+ Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future

This project uses targeted interventions in post-secondary educational institutions in Zambia and Zimbabwe to improve access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) among 18-24 year-olds. Working with UNESCO and Ministries of Higher and Tertiary Education, the project brings Switzerland’s lengthy experience in the HIV/SRHR field to bear by targeting an often neglected cohort of young people with tailored interventions to reduce HIV infections, unintended pregnancies, and gender-based violence. 

Pays/région Thème Période Budget
Communauté de développement d'Afrique australe (SADC)
Zambie et Zimbabwe
Santé & droits reproductives
Violence sexuelle & sexiste
Enseignement supérieur
01.10.2020 - 14.09.2025
CHF  7’655’500

Much progress has been made in providing information on SRHR during adolescence. However, due to patchy implementation of comprehensive sexuality education (CSE), conservative social attitudes, and insufficiently trained teachers, many young people still enter their twenties without adequate knowledge, placing them at an elevated risk for unintended pregnancies, sexual abuse and other negative outcomes. Young women and men aged 18-24 have had little to no programming tailored to their needs and context.

In Zambia and Zimbabwe, tertiary institutions—including universities, colleges, technical and vocational training schools, and other post-secondary institutions—are home to over 582’000 young adults, mostly from the lower middle class of society. These young adults are contending with transactional sex, abuse, peer pressure and other challenges on their own for the first time, often with detrimental consequences that cut deeply across gender lines. These tertiary institutions do not offer a comprehensive health approach that encompasses the SRHR needs of students and only a few have fully functional and equipped clinics. Those that do offer SRHR services struggle with uptake issues (opening hours, commodity shortages, confidentiality concerns, etc.). The situation has only been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and its many ripple effects.

Objectifs To achieve a sustained decline in new HIV infections, unintended pregnancies, and gender based violence among 18-24 year-olds in Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Groupes cibles


-    135’318 students in 24 tertiary institutions in  Zambia and Zimbabwe, who will benefit from improved HIV/SRHR services and safer campus environments

-    Government ministries, which are involved in project decisions, positively influencing the development and implementation of better SRHR and GBV prevention policies.


-    Users of any SRHR-related mobile applications the project may generate;

-    Young people in relationships with tertiary students;

-    Students in other tertiary institutions

-    Colleagues of graduates, as well as the wider communities in which graduates live, as newfound knowledge and behaviours are brought to bear in their new environments

-    Stakeholders across the higher education sector as lessons learnt are shared nationally and across SADC member countries

Effets à moyen terme

-    Institutionalised commitment to inclusive policies, guidelines and accountability mechanisms for the promotion and protection of students with a focus on CSE, gender based violence (GBV) and SRHR;

-    Improved equitable access to quality SRHR, GBV and HIV services and information for students in supportive and safe campus environments;

-    Reduced rates of HIV infection and unwanted pregnancies among tertiary students;

-    Increased evidence base for CSE/SRHR needs in colleges and effective approaches within tertiary institutions;

-    Enhanced utilisation of acquired knowledge, skills and agency to make informed decisions and positive actions by tertiary students.


Principaux résultats attendus:  

1 compulsory CSE module institutionalised in all participating tertiary institutions

1 technical working group established per institution; 1 national working group established per country, and 1 regional steering committee established

22 on campus health clinics and their immediate, physical environment and facilities improved

1 scorecard developed per institution and utilised to improve delivery of health services

72 health care providers and 48 peer counsellors trained to provide quality SRHR

CSE messages delivered through two podcasts per year, and through radio and other formats/platforms once each month

1 campaign on sexual harassment and GBV implemented twice a year per institution

Complaint pathways and whistle-blower mechanisms developed and/or enhanced for each institution

1 mobile application developed 

Principaux résultats antérieurs:  

Baseline reached 3’876 students

-    19 of the selected tertiary institutions incorporate some form of sexuality education in their policies and guidelines (Zambia 11 & Zimbabwe 8); Ten have policies that are inclusive of young people with disabilities and LGBTIQ (5 in each country).

-48'295 students reached with accurate, rights based CSE (Zambia 27% of 60’419 & Zimbabwe 42.7% of 74’899); 53’104 students aged 20-24 have been tested for HIV in the last 12 months (Zambia 23’744 & Zimbabwe 29'360).

-    19 tertiary institutions have rules and guidelines for staff and students related to GBV including sexual harassment (Zambia 11 & Zimbabwe 8).

-    75.4% and 63.2% of female students in Zambia and Zimbabwe respectively who have experienced unintended pregnancy.

-    23.3% and 13.8% of female students in Zambia and Zimbabwe respectively who experienced a form of sexual and/or gender based violence.

Direction/office fédéral responsable DDC
Crédit Coopération au développement
Partenaire de projet Partenaire contractuel
ONG internationale ou étrangère
Organisme des Nations Unies (ONU)
  • Commission suisse pour l’UNESCO

Autres partenaires
Coordination avec d'autres projets et acteurs SADC Secretariat; SADC Member States; other SDC partners (MiET Africa, UNFPA); SDC Global Programme Health; SDC Education network 
Budget Phase en cours Budget de la Suisse CHF    7’655’500 Budget suisse déjà attribué CHF    7’264’579
Phases du projet Phase 1 01.10.2020 - 14.09.2025   (Phase en cours)