Evidence shows that the majority of Ethiopian youth enter university with low-risk behaviors for acquiring HIV. However, they possess little knowledge of HIV prevention or sexual and reproductive health issues and lack the skills and social support to make decisions that protect their sexual and reproductive health.
The USAID/Ethiopia In-School Youth (ISY) HIV Prevention program works to reduce the risk of HIV among youth transitioning from secondary school to university. It aims to establish a comprehensive HIV prevention and sexual and reproductive health program in secondary and tertiary schools.
The program’s primary objectives include:
- Increasing behavior change communications capacity at secondary and tertiary schools
- Improving behavioral outcomes related to HIV and AIDS and sexual and reproductive health issues among in-school youth
- Disseminating high-impact behavior change tools and approaches that can be adapted to meet the needs of in-school youth
- Strengthening the Ministry of Education’s capacity to implement and monitor high-quality, skills-based HIV prevention education
To meet these objectives, the program has designed a socio-ecological approach that places youth at the center of a social structure and focuses on engaging both the individual and multiple levels of influence in the community. The program will work with 100 high schools and 50–70 universities and private colleges in Addis Ababa and the Amhara; Oromia; Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples'; and Tigray regions.
This approach is based on six fundamental principles:
- Integration of education and behavior change communication
- Country ownership
- Peer-led approach
- Recognition of individual and collective achievement
- Community outreach
- Leveraging of existing innovative behavior change tools
The USAID/Ethiopia ISY program will collaborate with the Government of Ethiopia; the Ministry of Health; the Ministry of Education; the Ministry of Women, Children, and Youth Affairs; the U.S. Peace Corps; and local nongovernmental organizations. The program is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).