The Healthy Schools Initiative
PSI/Rwanda engages secondary schools and communities in the fight against HIV/AIDS through training, communications programs, capacity-building for teachers and parents, and student-run anti-AIDS clubs. The project aims to improve parent-child communication by building the capacity for parents to speak openly with their children about reproductive health, sexuality, and HIV and AIDS.
Meaning “Think about it,” Dushishoze centers are designed to make young people feel at ease and express themselves freely about their sexual health. Centers provide reproductive health services, voluntary counseling and testing (VCT), family planning services and treatment of sexually transmitted infections to sexually active youth ages 15-24.
ABAJENE! Mass-Media Communications
As a well-known local language rallying cry for youth, ABAJENE! supports the community-based Centre Dushishoze and Healthy Schools Initiative programs with mass-media communications, strengthening key messages at a national scale. The program encourages open communication between boys and girls through mass media communications. In addition to printing a quarterly magazine, ABAJENE! hosts a weekly live participatory radio program that promotes the benefits of abstinence and delayed sexual debut, making both more viable options for young people facing social and cultural pressure to engage in sex.
High-Risk Targeted BCC and Mobile VCT
PSI/Rwanda uses multiple approaches to reach the highest at-risk groups in Rwanda. Specifically targeting members of the military, incarcerated persons and commercial sex workers, PSI/Rwanda provides mobile VCT services and behavior change communications on a national level. PSI engages community members by training peer educators to provide information and positive choices for healthy behavior.
Religious Leaders Collaboration
In early 2007, PSI worked in partnership with the national umbrella of religious leaders, Ministry of Health and National AIDS Control Program to organize the a national religious leaders conference on "the role of religious leaders in implementing Rwanda's national family planning and HIV prevention policies". The event pulled together 250 of the most senior religious leaders from Rwanda's five main religious institutions (Catholic, Protestant, Anglican, Evangelical and Muslim) and resulted in a signed common declaration of support for these policies from the five main denominations.
Awareness, Education & Prevention PSI/Rwanda’s comprehensive malaria program is designed to:
- Increase public awareness of the severity of malaria through interpersonal, mid-level and mass media behavior change communications campaigns.
- Increase informed demand for long lasting insecticide treated nets through a strong brand marketing campaign.
- Increase equitable access to affordable nets through commercial, public sector antenatal and community-based distribution channels. Improve use of behavioral tracking surveys and GIS distribution mapping for evidence-based programmatic decision-making.
The Total Market Approach
In 2007, PSI/Rwanda launched the first nationwide, highly subsidized pre-packaged artemisinin-based combination malarial therapies (ACT) to engage the private sector in increasing the percentage of fevers that are treated within the critical 24-hour time period among children under five. By engaging public sector health facilities, community health workers and private sector pharmacists, PSI/ Rwanda is using a “Total Market” approach to maximize access to the nation's first new anti-malarial treatment (Coartem ACT, launched in 2006). This innovative approach is made possible through a strong partnership with the national malaria control program and the drug regulatory authorities within the Ministry of Health.
In 2005, PSI/Rwanda launched a new family planning program designed to increase the modern contraceptive prevalence rate by increasing availability of affordable hormonal contraceptives and condoms through private sector and community-based distribution. All communications efforts target the complex personal and social issues that drive unmet need in Rwanda, including fear of side effects, myths and misconceptions about hormonal contraceptives, and real and perceived social norms that pressure women and men to have children before they are ready.
According to the 2005 DHS, only 2.5% of Rwandans have piped water inside their dwellings, which is considered to be the safest source of water. Sûr'Eau is a chlorine based solution that is added to water to make it sanitary. When used correctly and consistently as part of a “safe water system,” which includes proper personal hygiene, correct water storage and handling, and correct and consistent water treatment, PSI/Rwanda's Sûr'Eau prevents most waterborne infections.