STRIVE workshop on structural drivers and adolescents held in Tanzania

07 November 2012
Alexandra Hyde

STRIVE members at the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), Mwanza last month organised a landmark workshop dedicated to young people and adolescents in Tanzania.

The workshop, which was the first of its kind to address the structural drivers specific to this key population, brought together experts in policy, advocacy, programming and research.  Twenty-seven stakeholders attended, including participants from government ministries, NGOs and independent consultants.

In her opening remarks, the Executive Chairman of the Tanzania Commission for AIDS, Dr Fatma Mrisho, stressed the need to address issues affecting HIV risk amongst adolescents, for example early marriage. Dr Joyce Wamoyi, a NIMR/STRIVE researcher and specialist in young people’s sexual and reproductive health (SRH), gave an overview of STRIVE’s themes. This was followed by a group discussion on key drivers affecting HIV risk amongst young people in school, out-of-school, in informal employment, and within a family context.

During the deliberations and brainstorming that followed, stakeholders reached consensus on a range of issues and requirements affecting policy, research and practice, such as:

  • the need to tackle particular structural drivers that increase the risk of adverse HIV and SRH outcomes among young people
  • the fact that structural drivers and interventions are a new concept to many in the field, requiring further strategic discussion
  • challenges facing the national education system in the delivery of effective SRH interventions
  • the need to involve young people when developing interventions.

The workshop resulted in several new partnerships for the continuation of dialogue and knowledge exchange, while STRIVE members answered questions from local and national media including BBC Swahili and East African Radio.