A higher education project known as TemariNet is working to address HIV and unintended pregnancy in universities and colleges across Ethiopia.
Named after a social networking website run by the Ethiopian College and University Students Network, TemariNet aims to create awareness on these issues among students by instigating communication activities that encourage behaviour change, such as talk shows, debates and ‘edutainment’ (educational entertainment) programmes.
According to Shimeles Gebeyehu, the project coordinator at DKT Ethiopia: “We are targeting this part of the population because those young boys and girls are the future leaders and parents of the nation.” Funded by UKAID, EKN, UNFPA and Irish AID, the project has been able to reach tens of thousands of students in the country over the past five years. Some 76,000 students and 2,500 university and college staff have been trained on issues like condom use, youth-friendly service delivery and other life skills.
Special female only sessions were held as part of girls’ nights and dorm-to-dorm events, creating an opportunity for girls to gather round to discuss their own issues and share experiences. “This project has equipped us with the skills and tools to avoid unnecessary risk,” said Yafet from Hawassa University, one of the partner universities working with DKT.