Young people growing up in South Africa face many challenges. HIV, orphanhood, early pregnancy, and limited employment prospects are some of the major obstacles to a healthy and productive adulthood. In KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), the province with the highest HIV prevalence rates, the impact of HIV and AIDS is felt especially strongly, and already-disadvantaged adolescents face the prospect of falling even further behind socially and economically because of the disruption of key relationships in their lives. The Isihlangu Health and Development Agency and the Population Council developed and piloted a life-orientation program, Siyakha Nentsha, to improve the lifelong skills and well-being of both boys and girls. As noted in Promoting Healthy, Safe, and Productive Transitions to Adulthood Brief No. 4, Siyakha Nentsha had a greater impact than expected. Programs that include training related to human rights, financial planning, and making better choices in life can provide young people with valuable skills that reduce risks of acquiring HIV, increase financial empowerment, and enhance the ability to cope with the stresses of growing up in a challenging environment.
Hallman, Kelly and Eva Roca. 2011. "Siyakha Nentsha: Building economic, health, and social capabilities among highly vulnerable adolescents in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa," Promoting Healthy, Safe, and Productive Transitions to Adulthood Brief no. 4. New York: Population Council.
Siyakha Nentsha: Enhancing the Economic, Health, and Social Capabilities of Highly Vulnerable Youth