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Young people are the fastest growing segment of the population in both poor and middle-income developing countries, and their welfare is fundamental to achieving key economic and social objectives. Fully engaged, educated, healthy and productive young people can help break multi-generational poverty, are resilient in the face of personal and societal threats and, as skilled and informed citizens, they can contribute effectively to the strengthening of their communities and nations. On the contrary, if subjected to violence and harmful practices, discrimination or deprived of resources and services, the consequences for young people are almost always evident in the status of their sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and rights; particularly for girls and young women.
Girls and young women in developing countries face systematic disadvantages according to a wide range of indicators, including health and nutrition, education, protection, labour force participation and the burden of household tasks1. Each year, 1in 3 girls, an estimated 14.2 million, are married before the age of 18. 1in 9 girls are married before the age of 15. Child marriage is a human rights violation, and form of violence that denies millions of girls their childhood as well as put them at risk of early pregnancy.
Every year in developing countries, 7.3 million girls and young women under the age of 18 give birth. 11% of all births worldwide are born to adolescent mothers, with 95% occurring in developing countries. For some young women, pregnancy and childbirth are planned and wanted, but for millions of other women and girls this is unintended. Childbirth at an early age is associated with greater health risks for the mother. In low- and middle-income countries, complications of pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death in young women aged 15–19 years2 .
Research shows that adolescence is the time where the most essential decisions shaping girls’ lives are made, yet traditional youth programming tend to overlook the specific barriers and needs of the girls and young women. Therefore, it is fundamental to place the girls and young women at the centre of their own development and undertake a more focused, multidimensional and integrated approach to respond to their needs3.
Mozambique ranks among the worst countries in the world in terms of a large spectrum of indicators on girls and women’s rights and wellbeing. The centrepiece of this program is the promotion and protection of the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of girls and young women in Mozambique. The proposed program reflects the renewed attention by the United Nations to the equality agenda, which provides an opportunity to refocus youth programs towards the underlying causes and influential factors leading to the marginalization and vulnerability of girls and young women – as a vector for greater progress for society at large.
1 Action for Girl, UNFPA, 2014
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), have established a Joint Programme entitled “Action for Girls and Young Women's Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Mozambique”, using a pass-through funding modality.
The Joint Programme aims to further expand “Action for Adolescent Girls” in Mozambique in various ways; firstly, through the inclusion of a strong emphasis on behaviour and social change communication based on the expertise and experience of UNICEF - also responding to the gaps identified in the external PGB review related to behavioural outcomes. Innovative communication strategies towards a change in attitudes and behaviours are required to provide adolescents with essential information and to translate knowledge and attitude into practice; through positive decisions on issues that affect their future and well-being. Influencing the social norms and cultural practices that rule the patterns of behaviours at community level, particularly on sexual and reproductive health, vulnerability to gender based violence and abuse and child marriage is critical in order to achieve positive behaviour change70. Experiences from the One UN Programme on MDG 4 & 5 in Zambezia further highlighted the “importance of adapting demand creation interventions to the social and cultural context, and the effectiveness in using community radios”.
Generally the program takes on a participatory approach, that includes the voice and participation of girls and young women in various platforms and media programs through radio and TV, as mentors and community activists; through mobilization of local and religious leaders on SRHR to play a role in the solution; based on evidence and experiences with UNFPA a specific focus will be placed on the importance of involving men and boys as well71; and community champions (men and women) will be mobilized to champion the issue of sexual and reproductive health of girls and young women in their communities based on experiences with UN Women etc.
The emphasis on male involvement in this program is based on the fact that “gender, the socially constructed roles, identifies and attributes of men and women is now widely recognized as integral to understanding and addressing behaviours and vulnerabilities72.
Secondly, the program takes into consideration the effect of girls and young women’s economic empowerment on their agency, and consequently on their health, uptake of health care services, number of children, health of their children etc.73. Based on the fact that women’s capacity to bring about economic change for themselves increasingly is viewed as the most important contributing factor to achieving equality between women and men74, the program anticipates that a stronger emphasis in providing economic opportunities for the target group will assist in addressing the inequalities present in the geographic areas fuelling the vulnerabilities and marginalization of girls and young women. Among the many barriers to young women’s access to economic opportunities prominence goes to a combination of lack of skills or possession inadequate skills due to gender prejudice which often results in orienting them to market saturated areas, inadequate financing and weak of coordination and complementary among the institutions which work on economic empowerment of young people75.
Thirdly, to respond to the systemic barriers contributing to the unfulfilled sexual and reproductive health rights of girls and young women in Nampula and Zambezia, a specific focus will be placed on influencing the policy level to address the specific needs of girls and young women in policies, strategies and plans, and for those to be taken into practice. These efforts are further supported by a strong emphasis on the rights of girls and women related to sexual and reproductive health, which is underscoring the programmes’ focus on the UPR process and the participation of civil society, including youth associations, women associations and particularly the voice of girls and young women in policy advocacy. In this respect, the programmes relies on producing evidences to feed into policy advocacy on not solely the need for targeted and strategic efforts towards this target group, but also to demonstrate good practices and approaches to be up-scaled and replicated.
Furthermore, the program aims to respond to the gaps in capacity and coordination by building capacity of civil society and Government institutions, as well as strengthening the multisector capacity and coordination at all levels to sustain the commitment towards SRHR for young people, particularly for girls and young women.
On the part of the UN, the RCO will provide an overall oversight to ensure alignment with UNDAF, One Fund management and reporting, supporting and consolidation of annual and final reporting, external communication and strategic coordination and preparation for the Steering Committee.The oversight of the programme will rest with the Multi-Sectorial Steering Committee of PGB with the participation of RC, UNFPA, donor, and key ministries; Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Youth and Sports and Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Action. The Multi-Sectorial Steering Committee will meet every six months to provide overall leadership and oversight of the program, as well as review the status of implementation and ensure inter-ministerial coordination and cooperation. Progress from the two provinces will be directly reported back to the Multi-Sectorial Steering Committee.
Another key function of the Programme Implementation Team is to be coordination, reporting, knowledge management, and communication between implementing partners including the donor agencies. A crucial part of the coordination by the Programme Implementation Team will be to ensure the complementarity and alignment with the Provincial Committees and District Committees of PGB.
Generally, UNFPA is, as the Convening Agency on SRHR, responsible for formal and thematic correspondence with Government in this thematic area, and in this program UNFPA will also be the main channel of the UN to correspond with Government. As the Convening Agency agency, the Programme Coordinator will be placed in UNFPA and supported by two Project Officers, M&E Specialist, a Technical Advisor and a Finance/Administrative Assistance. Apart from coordinating the overall implementation, the Programme Implementation Team will ensure the complementarity and alignment with the implementation of the Strategic Plan of Geração Biz 2014-17 at all levels, and also provides technical and administrative support to the committees.The overall operational, administrative and technical support to the programme implementation will be the responsibility of the Programme Implementation Team (PIT), which will meet on a quarterly basis, and be led by the Programme Coordinator with the participation of UN agencies, a technical advisor, provincial project officers and implementing partners.
The Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office (MPTF Office) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) serves as the Administrative Agent (AA) of the Joint Programme. The AA is responsible for concluding Standard Administrative Arrangements (SAAs) with donors and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Participating UN Organisations.
Participating Organizations are required to submit final year-end expenditures by April 30 in the following year; Interim expenditure figures are submitted on a voluntary basis and therefore current year figures are not final until the year-end expenditures have been submitted.
Funds with Administrative Agent
Funds with Participating Organizations
For Policy and Programme Issues in Mozambique
United Nations Resident Coordinator's Office, Rua Jose Craverinha, 237, P.O.Box 4595, Maputo, Mozambique; Telephone:+258 21 485 158+258 21 485 158 ; Fax: +258 21 48 51 61; Website: http://mz.one.un.org/
Administrative Agent Issues in New York:
Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office (MPTF Office), Bureau for Management Services, United Nations Development Programme; Fax: +1 212 906 6990;