The SRHR programme
In the second half of 2019 we organised a strategic review of our work on SRHR, involving a broad consultation process. As a result of the review we decided to broaden the scope of our SRHR work, maintaining and building on the successful Love Matters programme but also moving beyond it to develop an umbrella SRHR programme.
The new strategy allows us to provide wider and more diverse SRHR programming with locally designed interventions based on local needs, more comprehensively supporting Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3 and 5 on health and wellbeing and on gender equality, respectively. We will also continue to support SDG 4 by provide learning opportunities for young people around all aspects of love sex and relationships and making informed choices.
Changes in our SRHR programming
In line with the new SRHR umbrella programme, in 2019 we launched a number of new initiatives in Burundi, Libya, Yemen and Mali. Further expansion of the Love Matters programme had been planned for these countries in 2019 but research and the experience of RNW Media’ Citizens’ Voice teams working in the countries made it clear that the Love Matters approach was not going to be the most effective way to achieve our SRHR goals in these contexts.
In Burundi, Libya and Mali it was decided to incorporate SRHR within the existing Citizens’ Voice platforms, where young people had also demonstrated clear SRHR needs.
Linking the SRHR programme with the Citizens’ Voice programme is a good way of addressing young people’s needs in a holistic way, promoting young people’s human rights in any one context more comprehensively. In Yemen we decided to partner with an existing local SRHR initiative, the Yamaan foundation. Each of these new SRHR activities have been developed following a user-centred and data-driven methodology whereby we for instance analysed data from Google Analytics of the different platforms, Google Trends and surveys. This methodology has been applied consistently to each project and as a result, every SRHR project has a tailored, localised SRHR strategy, knowing which topics to tackle and which content formats work best.
RNW Media’s flagship SRHR programme, Love Matters, supports safe, healthy and pleasurable love, sex and relationships for young people (15-30 years old). Love Matters works in RDC, China, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and, through a social franchise based global network structure, also in India and Mexico. Love Matters platforms use a pleasure-positive and taboo-breaking approach to attract young people. They challenge prejudices and deliver accessible evidence- and rights-based SRHR information driven by young people’s interests and needs. Young people are then better able to make informed decisions and improve their access to appropriate services and commodities.
Love Matters Global Network
To make sure that the Love Matters platforms will be able to continue independently from RNW Media in the future, RNW Media created the Love Matters global network, based on a social franchise model. More about this is to be read in the section about sustainability. In 2019 the SRHR platforms had a total reach of more than 505 million, a social media community of around 7,5 million and a total content impression of almost 1,500 million.
An impact study of the Love Matters platforms in Nigeria, RDC, Egypt and China was carried out in 2019. 70% of the nearly 1,500 survey respondents reported that engaging with the platforms had positively impacted their lives. Women and girls benefit relatively the most from the Love Matters platforms; 80% of total female respondents indicated that engaging with the platforms has had a positive influence in their lives.
Rights Evidence Action — amplifying youth voices
Supported by an AmplifyChange strategic grant the Rights evidence action—amplifying youth voices (REA) programme works at the intersection of digital media, SRHR and advocacy to influence attitudes, social norms and policies in favour of the SRHR of young people, including LGBT youth. The programme is a collaboration between RNW Media and CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality, complementing each other with their expertise. CHOICE has a long track record in advocacy while we bring in digital media component expertise and innovative data approaches (such as social listening and online surveys amongst young people that are boosted by social media). The two organisations also work with local youth-led partner organisations directly. The initial three-year REA programme was implemented in India, Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria and ended in the last quarter of 2019. A further one-year iteration in RDC and Nigeria began in the first quarter of 2020.
REA highlights in 2019 included the YouthUpUN! Campaign on meaningful youth participation in structures at the UN in Geneva. CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality was in the lead and we provided support with visuals and core advocacy messages based on data to complement CHOICE’s trainings and meetings. The REA consortium came together in Uganda to reflect on three years of programme implementation as well as the partnership itself. All partners experienced great complementarity of organisations in their implementing countries as well as in the consortium as a whole. One of the main lessons learned was that linking and learning between partners is vital to smooth implementation and greater efficiency, and that this should be embedded throughout the life of a programme.