National Students' Conference report

Conference Reports
46 p.

Students and Youths Working on Reproductive Health Action Team (SAYWHAT) hosted 60 students from 30 tertiary institutions during its 4th National Students Conference from the 16th to the 18th of December 2009 under the theme "Healthy Students for a prosperous Nation". Through presentations, parallel sessions and group discussions led by programmers from the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, UNFPA, SAfAIDS, YET, PSI to mention but a few the Conference's intended to: Outline how Healthy Students are a potent resource to a prosperous nation; Interrogate the sexual and reproductive health responses that have been undertaken in tertiary institutions; Provide Information on Key strategies on SRHR that have been introduced in 2009; Contextualize the debate on constitution making, bill of rights and rights based approach to sexual and reproductive health rights; Provide a platform for students to create sexual and reproductive health responses that addresses their challenges; Allow for priority setting on sexual and reproductive health concerns among students. Among the key issues that came out was the need for a universal curriculum on SRHR for tertiary institutions. The delegates also reiterated that there is need for clear monitoring and evaluation and coordination of SRHR programs within tertiary institutions. In light of the risk posed by Multiple and Concurrent partnerships there was a call for behavioral change amongst all students and focus on life skills and livelihoods training to sustain such. SAYWHAT was advised to commit to more institutional visits, regional conferences and information dissemination programs to reach out to more youths including those with special interests such as youths with a disability. Government on the other hand was tasked to ensure that there is review of relevant policies such as the National Youth policy and that they should be operational through well coordinated strategies. The constitution making process was identified as an opportunity that can ensure the realization of health as a right including sexual and reproductive health. There was interest over exploring emerging issues such as Male circumcision and the relationship between climate change and reproductive health. Generally there was a call for commitment among all students, college authorities and SAYWHAT's membership for more effective responses that addresses the real SRH challenges obtained in tertiary institutions.

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