TechnoGirl Trust and HIVSA have partnered to boost HIV and health awareness among South African young women, empowering them to achieve their goals while maintaining their health and wellbeing.
The two organisations share the strategic priority of empowering young people to achieve their aspirations while looking after their health and wellbeing.
This partnership addresses important challenges that South Africa continues to face, with 24% of women aged between 18 and 49 living with HIV, 150,000 young girls experiencing teenage pregnancy, and limited resources to address personal sexual health in many impoverished communities.
“Our partnership with HIVSA started in 2022 when we identified that we share the organisational objective of serving young people from under-resourced communities,” said Staff Sithole, chief executive officer at TechnoGirl Trust.
“While our objective is to narrow the discrepancy in opportunities that still exist between men and women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers, HIVSA prioritises awareness on HIV, community health, sexual health, hygiene, menstrual health, and puberty,” Sithole said.
Sithole further added that the partnership between the two organisations started by engaging young South African women between the ages of 15 and 25 years on HIV prevention, sexual health and personal wellness, as these issues cannot be ignored.
“HIV and sexual health awareness are very important components that should always complement career development. Choma, therefore fills the health information gap where TechnoGirl Trust provides a structured job shadowing programme to young girls and boys,” Sithole added.
HIVSA chief executive officer, Yashmita Naidoo said that over 16,000 girls have gone through TechnoGirl's programme, and on average, 75% of the beneficiaries advance to register for STEM careers. The partnership treats career development and sexual health awareness as aspects that will open up a more promising future for many young people in South Africa.
“Speaking to young people gives us an opportunity to empower them with information that assists them in making informed decisions when it comes to their sexual health, thus preventing the spread of HIV and teenage pregnancy.
“Through our partnership with TechnoGirl Trust, we can reach young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, where the dissemination of this information in the past has been a challenge due to technological constraints,” Naidoo said.
Sithole further expressed excitement and inspiration for their partnership with HIVSA, focusing on providing comprehensive education for STEM students and equipping them with vital knowledge for health and wellbeing.
“Together with HIVSA, we are shaping a brighter future for our TechnoGirls, where they not only excel in STEM, but also become empowered leaders and advocates for their own health and the wellbeing of their communities,” she said.