Siyakha Nentsha: A Randomized Experiment to Enhance the Health, Social and Financial Capabilities of Girls and Boys in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Kelly Hallman, Population Council
Eva Roca, Population Council
Kasthuri Govender, Pinetown Highway Child and Family Welfare Society
Maria C. Calderon, Population Council
Emmanuel Mbatha, Pinetown Highway Child and Family Welfare Society
Michael Rogan, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Hannah Taboada, Population Council
Jennifer Fauls, Columbia University
Raven E. Brown, Population Council

To respond to the social and economic challenges that make HIV and AIDS threats to adolescents in KwaZulu-Natal, the Isihlangu Health and Development Agency developed an educational program for female and male adolescents. The program, Siyakha Nentsha (SN), provides context-appropriate strategies to enhance participants’ financial skills, social support and HIV/AIDS knowledge and skills. The intervention was randomly allocated to secondary classrooms within a rural district and led by local young adult females and males who were trained as facilitators. Compared with the control group, SN boys reported having significantly fewer sexual partners, higher levels of abstinence and greater skills to access the social safety net; SN girls were more likely to be saving and interact with financial institutions. Education that includes actionable skills can help young people reduce their risk for HIV, become more financially empowered and better manage the stress of transitioning to adulthood in a challenging environment.

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Presented in Poster Session 5