It was a night filled with information sharing, food, drinks, edutainment and networking. SAfAIDS in partnership with Rhodes University-MobiSAM launched an application designed for the 21st century young person, coined MobiSAfAIDS on the 4th of March, 2019. Held at the Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka Zambia, the launch was graced by various key stakeholders, partners, parliamentarians, SADC PF secretariat and young people.
The MobiSAfAIDS launch had a two-fold purpose:
- To share the application and the pilot initiative to key stakeholders and identify key entry points for the subsequent regional collaboration
- To translate SAM data into advocacy and policy strategies to lift barriers to access to Adolescent Youth Sexual Reproductive Health (AYSRH) services and realise Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR)
It was a collaborative themed evening event, providing a platform for networking and sharing ideas on the application. The launch cocktail also incorporated visual representation, including;
- A chronological Gallery Walk of all the SAM4AYSRH key activities and events conducted at regional and national level from 2018 to date. These included the SAfAIDS Regional Transforming Lives Training of Trainers for Social Accountability Monitoring Champions held in September, 2018, the Northern Hub and Southern Hub operations task teams training and sensitization seminars held in December, 2018.
- Video clips and e-picture collages from the SAM training events and MobiSAfAIDS development process
- Short presentations from the SAM Specialist, Mr Percy Ngwerume and The Director MobiSAM, Prof Caroline Khene.
Prior to the launch, a live countdown to the launch was conducted on SAfAIDS’ Instagram account, with snippets of the launch product being posted, to raise visibility of the application. The launch was covered in real-time on SAfAIDS social media platforms i.e. Facebook Livestream.
As guests were ushered into the Intercontinental Hotel ballroom, video clips from the different trainings that took place prior to the launch were being played, giving guests insight on how much impact the application had on the trained young people, service providers and other partners. The programme kick-started with welcome remarks from the Deputy Director of SAfAIDS, Ms. Rouzeh Eghtessadi, who shared a brief background of the Transforming Lives programme and the impact the organization aims to have with the various projects it is implementing, Social Accountability Monitoring included.
The data from MobiSAfAIDS will be translated into policy advocacy. It provides a two-fold approach, the application provides SRH information and it also allows Young people to interact with policy makers as well as Service providers.“’–Ms. Rouzeh Eghtessadi, SAfAIDS
Mr Ngwerume gave a short presentation on the Baseline Study that SAfAIDS conducted on issues around access to SRH services, SRH knowledge, as well as engagement of policy makers and media when it comes to inadequate services being offered at a health station. The findings proved to be impressive and raised a lot of attention on how service providers need to be held accountable for the services they offer. Mr Ngwerume highlighted that the MobiSAfAIDS application was a “middle man” between young people and the service providers, promoting social accountability monitoring. He further introduced Prof Khene, expressing excitement over the extraordinary partnership SAfAIDS and Rhodes University managed to develop for the greater good of the young population so they realize their greatest potential, thus “Transforming the Lives”. Prof Khene presented on the MobiSAfAIDS application, giving a step by step overview of how it works from when a ticket/issue is raised by a young person, the main channels the information goes through; from the health administrator to the service provider, till the very end when the young person closes the ticket after getting a satisfactory service.
The MobiSAfAIDS Application aims to support meeting the needs of Social Accountability Monitoring in the Transforming lives program– Professor Caroline Khene Rhodes University
Young people from Africa Directions, Zambia, Sandra Musowe and Japhet Chulu, shared their experiences and perspective of the MobiSAfAIDS application and the initiative of SAfAIDS as an organization to promote social accountability monitoring among young people. It was an enlightening experience as the guests got to understand the impact of the application and programme on the lives of young people in different countries.
We as young people need to ensure that our rights to SRHR should be a lived reality-– Japhet Chulu
Ms. Susanna Janson Landin, the First Secretary for the Deputy Head-Regional team for SRHR, Embassy of Sweden, gave solidarity remarks, emphasizing that they are excited to see where the programme will go as well as its impact on young people. She expressed appreciation for the harnessing of technology and youth leadership in Sexual and Reproductive health with the MobiSAfAIDS application, highlighting that information attained from this app will help lift barriers around SRH issues, building new strategies and advocacy platforms, as well as help communities and policy makers realize SRHR.
The cutting of the ribbon was graced by Ms. Janson Landin, Dr. Silumesi, Ms. Rouzeh Eghtessadi, Mr. Chrispin Chomba and Mr. Percy Ngwerume.