Young Voices Africa
Engaging young people in Southern Africa through character-led animations on sex and relationships
Young Voices Africa is an interactive package of animations and information materials on sex and relationships – created by, and for, young people between 15 and 24 years old in Southern Africa.
There are currently Young Voices Africa animations and supporting materials on eight themes – available in English and Swahili. These themes were identified by young people through co-creation workshops as being most important to them and their friends. Issues range from dating older people, sexual consent and healthy relationships, through to sharing your HIV positive status, what to do if you have sex without a condom and options for contraception. The materials are designed to be used through self-guided use online, to kick-start discussions on social media, and in face-to-face peer education settings.
The character driven dilemma stories are designed to promote thinking and discussion, and are supported by fact sheets, questions for discussion, and facilitators’ guides . There is also an online comic creator – giving young people a chance to think through and create their own comic strip ending to the characters’ stories, in their own words.
The Young Voices resources are such a relevant, youth-friendly, and fresh set of resources. The characters, stories, animations and accompanying tools are an exciting and creative way to have critical discussions with young people around topics that are traditionally difficult to have successful conversations about.
Young Voices Africa has been developed to try to close the sexual health knowledge gaps of young people, by co-creating content that:
Young people now make up more than 50% of many African countries’ populations. With so many young adults reaching sexual maturity, it is vital that they have the skills, knowledge and resources to support good sexual health.
A guy who loves you will not pressure you to do what is not right and what you are not comfortable with. He will respect you and wait. So let him leave, there are better people out there.
By promoting the materials through social media and working with organisations who deliver peer education in the region, the content has reached millions of young people.
The videos have garnered a high level of engagement on social media and sparked thousands of discussions between young people.
An analysis of social media comments on the animations found 59% of people participating in online discussions showed deeper engagement with the issues covered in the animations, by, for example, expressing that they have gained knowledge; changing their perspective; or relating the issue back to their own experience.
In an online survey of organisations using Young Voices materials 86% of respondents said the materials were ‘very useful’, with the same percentage saying they had enhanced their training/sessions ‘a lot’.
Photo credit: Kate Iorpenda. Photos are used for illustrative purposes. They do not imply health status or behaviour.