Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future (O3 Plus) project seeks to ensure that young people in higher and tertiary education institutions (HTEIs) in Tanzania realize positive health, education and gender equality outcomes through sustained reductions in new HIV infections, unintended pregnancy and sexual and gender-based violence. The project will thus enable them to reach their full educational potential and contribute more effectively to the development of the country and region as graduates, professionals, and young leaders. With support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the project is implemented across campuses of Higher and Tertiary Education institutions (HTEIs) in Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar from August 2021 to December 2022.
Working closely with relevant regional structures, national ministries, higher and tertiary education institutions, and key partners, UNESCO supports innovation in access to Life Skills-based Sexuality Education and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services for HTEI students while advocating for policy and practice changes to make campuses safe and inclusive learning environments for students and staff. In doing so, the project will institutionalize health and well-being programs for students while engaging leadership for long-term commitment and sustainability.
O3 Plus project covers 17 higher and tertiary education institutions (HTEIs), whereby 7 campuses/institutes namely: University of Dar es Salaam (Mlimani campus),Dar es Salaam University College of Education (DUCE), Mkwawa University College of Education (MUCE), University of Dar es Salaam Mbeya College of Health and Allied Sciences (MCHAS), Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS) in Zanzibar, Mineral Resource Institute (MRI), and the University of Dodoma (UDOM) are direct beneficiaries and 8 campuses/institutes namely: Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Academy University, Institute of Rural Development (Mwanza Campus), St. Augustine University of Tanzania ( Mwanza Campus), University of Iringa, Ruaha Catholic University, Mbeya University College of Health and Allied Sciences, St John’s University of Tanzania (Dodoma), Zanzibar University are benefiting through networking and sharing good practices and selected interventions.
The project seeks to contribute to the reduction of HIV, STIs, Gender & Sexual Based Violence, and Unintended Pregnancy amongst learners in Tanzania through enhancing access to quality Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE), promoting gender respectful & non-violent relationships, and creating demand & promote utilization of SRH, HIV and GBV related services.
The project has four objectives:
Objective 1: Institutional strengthening for sustainability
to support the institutionalization of CSE, SRHR services and prevention of / response to sexual and gender-based violence across the higher and tertiary education sector.
Objective 2: Student health and well-being
to build and strengthen the capacity of campus health facilities to offer a trusted standard package of youth-friendly health services for students, along with referral mechanisms to specialist care and support services as needed
Objective 3: Safe and inclusive campus environments
to support the development, implementation, and effective enforcement of laws and policies to protect students from sexual and gender-based violence, which they may encounter in and around campus environments.
Objective 4: Evidence-building and knowledge-sharing platform
to commission epidemiologic and operations research studies to generate a body of knowledge for a deeper understanding of the HIV/STI and GBV burden in colleges and the overall context for SRHR-related activity and service utilization, including insights on student ‘demand’, HTEI-based ‘supply’, and the broader campus environment.
In the completion of the project UNESCO expect to realize four outcomes:
- Institutionalized higher and tertiary education institution’s commitment to CSE and SRHR through policies and curriculum
- Improving access to quality SRHR services and information to students and the university community
- Promoting safer, more inclusive and more supportive campus environments for all students
- Improve access to evidence base for CSE/SRHR needs and effective approaches within HTEIs