The National Department of Social Development has partnered with SANAC to rollout bold and ambitious social behaviour change communication (SBCC) programmes across South Africa in response to the myriad of social challenges such as the spread of HIV, STIs, teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, toxic masculinity and genderbased violence.
South Africa is currently faced with the unacceptably high HIV infection rate among young women and girls. Two thousand new HIV infections are reported among adolescent girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24. This calls for targeted interventions as outlined in the current National Strategic Plan (NSP) for HIV, TB and STIs: 2017- 2022. The SBCC programmes by DSD and SANAC are a direct response to this.
The SBCC Programmes
The SBCC project is divided into five tailored programmes that deliver a targeted intervention to address a particular social challenge. They are as follows:
YOLO (You Only Live Once)
– This programme targets in-school and out-of-school youths and ‘seeks to create a safe and enabling environment in which young people can safely engage in discussion about HIV prevention, teenage pregnancy and where positive values and good decisions relating to sex and sexuality can emerge.’ The programme also aims to build a youth populace that is resilient, thriving and with increased autonomy, self-esteem and minimise risky behaviours that exposes them to HIV, teenage pregnancy and other social challenges.
MCC (Men Championing Change)
– MCC is another direct response to the social and structural drivers of HIV targeting men and boys. The upsurge of gender-based violence and femicide wreaking havoc across South Africa, there was an undeniable need to target men and boys in the solution. The MCC dialogues seek to unearth underlying issues that contribute to creating men who are perpetuators of violence crimes against women, children, the elderly and other vulnerable people. It also aims to capacitate them on how to be better beings and agents of change in their communities.
FMP (Families Matter Programme)
– This programme is geared towards creating happy and healthy families where everyone is valued, respected and heard. South Africa has many broken families where single parents battle with raising
children without a support system. There are also many child-headed households where a child has to assume a parental role at a very young age whilst they still need guidance themselves. FMP therefore, aims to create a harmony within families, no matter what the dynamics.
CCE (Community Capacity Enhancement)
– At times, social unrests are caused by disgruntled community members who do not necessarily know how to access certain services or how to air their grievances. Through dialogues with community
leaders, religious leaders and ordinary communitymembers, this programme aims to capacitate communities so they know how to confront or respond to issues affecting their existence within that given community.
“Ke Moja” (A colloquial SeSotho expression used to refuse something you don’t need)
– Ke Moja is a substance abuse programme that works with drug users to help them get “clean” and rehabilitated. The lack of economic opportunities, peer pressure and depression may lead some people to substance abuse. Ke Moja aims to change that narrative and
give hope to such people.
An initiative to document the progress, successes and good stories emerging from these programmes is also underway.
These ambitions programmes by DSD and SANAC will hopefully go a long way in forging a positive transformation
of South Africa’s social fabric.
“Our country is faced with many challenges from genderbased violence, femicide to substance abuse. All these issues are centred on behavioural imbalance. These SBCC programmes aim to correct that and create a society where all live in harmony,” said the SBCC Programme Manager, Nomfundo Mbuli.
Community based non-profit organisations were invited to apply to be implementers of the SBCC programmes in their communities in all provinces. Following a selection process, organisations were awarded funds and asked to recruit local unemployed social workers and young people to be facilitators of the various SBCC programmes.
Each organisation has an average of 30 trained facilitators who are charged with the responsibility of conducting dialogues in carefully selected sites. These include schools, community halls and correctional facilities.
The SBCC project has also led to other notable secondary benefits for the organisations and the communities. Some organisations had financial challenges to fulfil their mandate however, through this project, they are now able to expand and do much more for their communities. The recruitment of facilitators has also brought about much-needed relief to the many unemployed youths and social workers across the country.