Young Voices Africa is an interactive package of sexual and reproductive health information materials. It has been developed by and for young people aged 15 to 24 in Southern Africa.
The stories of Spijo, Lineo, Martha, Babalwa, Chipo and Mwaise are designed to promote thinking and discussion around key sexual health topics facing young people in Southern Africa – from having sex without a condom, unhealthy relationships, and options for contraception, to dating older people, talking about HIV, and saying no to sex.
A series of animations introduce the characters and their dilemmas, with supplementary materials and activities available to promote thinking and discussion. All the activities can be completed alone or as part of group work – online or offline.
We've developed a user guide with ideas about how to use Young Voices.
Who can use Young Voices?
Young Voices is free to use for any organisation or peer support group, school or individual. All the resources are easily accessed and downloadable on the Avert Young Voices Africa Hub, where you can explore the specific themes and meet the characters.
As part of this free set of resources, we only ask that users fill in a short survey to help us understand how the materials are being used, and to help us keep Young Voices relevant and effective. As Young Voices is a living resource, we will be incorporating feedback and improving this guide going forward.
What’s in the Young Voices package?
The core of Young Voices are 6 short animations (approximately 1 minute each). Through these we are introduced to Spijo, Martha, Mwaise, Chipo, Lineo and Babalwa. We learn who they are, their situation and what they are worried or thinking about. Each animation finishes with a question asking, what they should do?
As an offline alternative, or to be used as part of group work, the characters’ stories are also condensed into a short static comic, finishing with the same question – what should they do?
Online comic creator
Using an interactive online comic creator, participants can finish the story of any of the six characters, and explore how they would react to a range of different scenarios, and what advice they would give.
Participants have access to all of the characters, a variety of props, scenes and text options so that they can invent and tell their story.
Participants are also encouraged to share their comics, with the best ones featured on Avert.org and our social channels. The comic creator was developed with low bandwidth in mind for ease of use.
Offline comic creator
Printable handouts are available to download for participants who do not have access to the internet. And for those without access to printing facilities, blank paper and pens are all that are needed to start creating their own ending.
The themes explored in the animations will no doubt challenge views and bring up questions for the participants. The six thematic fact sheets highlight key points, or ‘things to know’ about each of the topics, with the aim of building the knowledge of the participants.
Each of the themes comes with a set of discussion questions that can be used as part of group work in school, with peer educators, or just to get you thinking. They are used to challenge participants to think critically about the issue – and test their own ideas and opinions with their peers.
Separate facilitators’ versions of the Key Facts documents are available with notes for facilitators to help direct discussions around each of the key themes.
How to use Young Voices
Young Voices is an engaging and interactive tool designed for participatory learning. It can be used on its own, or alongside existing materials and curricula to reinforce messages and spark discussions about the issues affecting each of the characters.
The intervention is first and foremost a digital product – but we have also created downloadable and printable alternatives for greater variability and use of the tool.
Each of the characters’ stories are designed to get the participants discussing the characters’ dilemmas and the wider SRH issues they involve. An online comic creator (and paper-based alternative) provides a fun and interactive way to think about the issues and explore options. We want the participants to learn by doing, share feelings, concerns, experiences, and discuss and analyse the issues.
Each of the stories are standalone and can be watched alone or as part of a series. There is no one right or wrong way to use the Young Voices materials but here are some of the ways that they could be used:
- by individuals
- by peer educators as part of their community outreach work
- by organisations to train peer educators
- by youth groups to stimulate discussion
- in the classroom, as part of a curriculum on sex and relationships.
Using Young Voices in a group
Find out more about using Young Voices in a group in our user guide.
Co-creation – at the heart of Young Voices
By using a participatory content-creation process we hope we have produced materials that are tailored to the needs of young people and effectively promote HIV knowledge and encourage behaviour change.
We would love to get your feedback on the materials, how you’ve used them, and how we can improve them in future. Click here to access our evaulation survey and submit your data if you are working with an organisation. If you are an individual using Young Voices you can submit your feedback here.