Out of the box onto the catwalk: Creative approaches for sex, relationship and HIV education in Southern Africa
In the face of a generalised HIV and AIDS epidemic in southern Africa, we are failing to provide young people with the effective sex, relationship and HIV education that is much needed. Though the argument for one or more coordinated and comprehensive youth sexual health interventions is intensifying, the crucial question of how best to provide young people with these skills and knowledge remains a significant challenge for many policy-makers, researchers and practitioners in our region. Moreover, few authors have taken an applied perspective to look at fresh approaches and tools with the potential to be more broadly implemented. In this chapter we aim to bridge theory and practice by doing two things. Firstly, we assess the published literature for insights on what successful youth sexual health and HIV programmes should contain, in Africa and beyond. Secondly, drawing from a range of sources, we identify and discuss ten promising approaches for applied sex, relationship, and HIV education that, we argue, merit further consideration in the development and application of youth sexual health programmes in southern Africa. These approaches include methods and tools currently being implemented, as well as ideas emerging from recent literature. Our paper is ultimately a call for a more ‘out of the box’ thinking to find effective and creative practical ways of providing the sexual health education our region’s youth urgently needs. It is also a call for further applied research, to better inform future programmes in southern Africa and beyond.