Nineteen-year-old girl becomes an agent of change - 2017

When Deriliah Chama got pregnant in grade 9, her dream to become a doctor shattered. Her parents were struggling to pay for her school needs while she suffered discrimination from her fellow school mates for being pregnant. Life become soo meaningless for her and she ended up stopping school. At some point, she felt like terminating the pregnancy due to pressure and other challenges she faced.

In order for her to survive, the 19-year-old Deriliah of Tuli community of Mansa district sales vegetables (Tomatoes) and plaints hair.

A Knock on Deriliah’s door by a youth counselor trained by Plan and Afya Mzuri changed everything about her life and how she perceived things. After explaining the dangers of early pregnancy and the re-pacations one would face for terminating a pregnancy, Deriliah decided to join the group of youth counselors and peer educators in Myulu.

Since Delriliah got pregnant in 2016, she now has a baby boy and is actively on family planning and has since said;

“I want to go back to school to continue my dream, I honestly don’t think I will be pregnant anytime soon before I achieve my dreams. Moreover, I now know how to use family planning services and dangers that I might face if I become pregnant and a tender age”.

Today Deriliah’s story does not end here, she has since been actively involved in sensitizing her fellow youths in the community on adolescent sexual reproductive health rights and why they should not engage in child marriages. Her inspiring story has continued transforming other girl’s attitude towards school and the importance of using family planning services to avoid teenage pregnancies.


 

Tale of a deaf eLearning Student


Lusaka - 
My name is Hildah Mbozi. I am a deaf school leaver from a family of five. I live in Libala. My life has not been an easy one- being deaf and financially struggling. Having no future to look forward to due to the limited opportunities for the deaf in Zambia, I could only look forward to getting married and raising a family. The only outlet would be internet- it offered potential opportunities world-wide. The challenge was the high commercial cost of these services.

My personal experience has been that of finding men who simply want to abuse me based on my speech impairment.  I have had several encounters where men have tried to take advantage of me by trying to forcefully have sex with me. How demeaning!

During one of the meetings at Zambia Deaf Vision, my friends spoke highly of a USAID- funded resource centre called Dziwani. I asked how much the facility cost to access internet. I was surprised to learn that these could be accessed for free.

When I went to Dziwani for the first time, I was immediately impressed with the assistance of the members of staff. I registered my membership and when I got to use the internet, I googled for opportunities for the deaf. Several internet sites promised a lot but not that I could comprehend.

I registered for an online course on HIV surveillance. After studying and taking exams, I completed a certificate in the said programme. I have learnt a lot from the course and I promised myself not to lose hope. Thanks to that eLearning course and free services at Dziwani, I have a certificate for which I did not pay money. I am now studying for another course in Data quality. I hope to be a teacher one day.


COH community radio empowers beneficiaries in Solwezi

Solwezi - While many listen to the radio to catch up on the news, enjoy their favourite songs, or even listen for advertisements, most do not realize the significance that local radio programmes can have in reducing risky behavioral practices.

According to Peg Mulaliki from Kyawama, for instance, the radio programme’s women’s listening group has felt the impact of positive change when their husbands drinking habits – and in turn, the spending of the household income – had significantly changed for the better. 

Mumfunte Paul from Zangamenu community adds that, “Radio programmes have marked a big change in my life. Before the program started, we [in the community] used to marry off children at an early age but, after listening to the program, we have given it up. Sexual cleansing was also practiced in some areas, but after the program it [the practice] has reduced.”

In particular, he adds, “Excessive beer drinking and prostitution has reduced because the radio listening group is sensitizing the community on the dangers of having multiple concurrent sexual partnerships.”
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From Sex Work to a Happy Marital Life

Chililabombwe – My name is Mildred Mofya, I am 34 years old, married and currently reside in the Chililabombwe Lubengele Township. I have been married to my husband for one year and four months.

Before getting married, I used to be a commercial sex worker who regularly had to change towns when clients were scarce, and this was my lifestyle for a long time. I had two types of clients: short time clients who were charged K50 and sleepover clients who were charged K450 for the night.

I used to have at least twenty short time clients per day and I preferred them to sleepover ones because that’s how I could make the most money. In 2012, during my stay at one of the guest houses, where I conducted my usual business of sex work, I had my first interaction with an outreach worker and two Peer Educators from the Corridors of Hope Project.

They had called everyone who was lodging there for a group discussion. During the discussion, we talked about the importance of knowing one’s HIV status, looked at the key drivers of HIV, and learned about the effects of alcohol on safe sex practices and HIV transmission risks.

I previously read a lot of brochures on alcohol use but they never made sense to me until I started participating in Corridors of Hope sessions. The topics were suddenly so relevant to my life and it was as if the scenarios spoke directly about me.
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The Power of the Female Condom

Solwezi – Many sex workers go through the daily stress and anxiety over earning money without observing safe and protected sex, a practice that caused women in the profession in the past to lose their lives.

In Solwezi, however, the situation is slowly changing.  In collaboration with the Corridors of Hope III (COH III) project, sex workers access the information they need on STI prevention, safe sex practices, condom use negotiation, positive living, HIV testing and counseling and treatment and adherence. 

Through the COH III interventions, empowered sex workers encourage sex workers to be advocates for themselves to use female condoms for a healthy life.
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Dziwani a conducive research environment

My names are Constance Ngenda Mweene. I live in Kamwala Area in Lusaka. I am an Outreach Coordinator for Basali Amoho a Community Based Organisation in Lusaka an organisation which runs gender programmes.

 I knew about Afya Mzuri in 2007 while I was working for Treatment Advocacy and Literacy Campaign (TALC) as a Volunteer. The job involved the use of IEC materials and that is how I was introduced to Afya Mzuri’s Dziwani Knowledge Centre for Health by my supervisor then.

 It was so amazing to realise that Dziwani Knowledge Centre for Health was not all about IEC materials but comprised enough space and facilities for research such as the reference room and the internet café.

 I am happy to have access to the research services which Dziwani Knowledge Centre offers. The services are not only free but they are so comprehensive that there isn’t need to go somewhere else.

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The power of IEC/BCC materials from Dziwani

My name is Evaristo Ndlovu. I live in Samfya District in Luapula Province. I am a social worker currently working with communities and volunteers at Advocates of Hope in Samfya.

Advocates of Hope is charged with the responsibility to provide information on HIV and STI’s, support people living with HIV & AIDS through community contributions, and orphans and vulnerable children through empowerment and extended families. The organisation also empowers youths through income generating activities in communities.

With the great help of IEC materials collected from Afya Mzuri, I have managed to lead people into accessing VCT services.