The Straight Talk project facilitates collaborative partnerships with adolescents with the aim of developing coping strategies and behavioural life skills that will help young people remain in control of their behaviour. The Straight Talk concept is built on the tenet that youth need information on sexuality and reproductive health so as to be able to make informed decisions about their health and lives.
At the core of all Straight Talk activities is youth participation as a strategy. The Straight Talk Editorial Board is comprised of 4 boys and 4 girls who meet twice per month with adults from the STFK. Along with their peers, these adolescents guide and develop Straight Talk media as part of an interactive and participatory structure has greatly contributed to its popularity.
Straight Talk/ Teen Talk SRHR Newspapers
Straight Talk has been known for its niche in speaking the language youth understand and in the recent past our publications have received rave opinions.
In partnership with the Centre for the Study of Adolescence (CSA), we have put together two newsletters, Teen Talk Magazine and Young Talk Magazine, which are distributed free of charge throughout learning institutions and youth groups in Kenya. The publications are complemented by visits by the Straight Talk team of peer educators and other visitors to a dozen schools every month.
Specifically, the Straight Talk Newspaper is produced by and for young people ages 15 to 19. The paper is published in Sheng, a popular patois of KiSwahili and English, and addresses topics generally not found in daily newspapers, such as sexual abuse, pregnancy, homosexuality, masturbation and gender inequality. Personal reflections – e.g., whether or not to disclose an episode of sexual abuse to one’s family and/or to get tested to find out whether HIV/AIDS was contracted as a result – are also incorporated into the newspaper’s articles, columns, question-and-answer interviews, and cartoons. The paper’s “Please Advise” column enables adolescents to respond to questions from their peers. We seek to empower the students themselves to raise as many questions as possible. Each quarter, about 30,000 copies of the newspaper are produced, and copies are distributed through schools, youth-serving organisations, and partners. The copiesare also available for download online. Archived issues of the newsletter may be accessed on our Straight Talk website.
Straight Talk Clubs
Straight Talk Clubs, each with an average of 35 students, aim to help improve adolescent health by fostering peer-to-peer discussion of HIV, by encouraging youth to share opinions about and experiences with confronting high-risk situations, and by helping them develop behaviour-negotiation skills through role-playing activities. Hosted within schools across the country, Straight Talk Clubs discuss issues raised in the newspaper, hear guest speakers, visit health centres and the disabled, and engage in community service projects. One goal is to increase dialogue between adolescents and teachers, and between adolescents and their parents.
Straight Talk has developed a training programme to prepare teachers and youth workers who run the Straight Talk Clubs to handle adolescents’ sexuality and reproductive health concerns with sensitivity. The training format is a 2-week class on group management and facilitation that includes peer education and HIV information.
Straight Talk Radio and online Podcasts
To reinforce the messages shared through the Straight Talk newspaper and the clubs, we have also successfully rolled out Straight Talk radio programmes aired on various institutional radio stations in institution of higher learning. This is to foster debate on sexual reproductive health and rights issues. Our shows have been available on MMU FM, USIU FM
Our radio programmes are also available on SoundCloud.com, a content sharing platform on the internet and our publications are available for free on Scribd.com.
The theme and focus of the programme is determined by the adolescent editorial board. The programme emphasises first-hand opinions and experiences of adolescents and introduces role-playing scenarios.
Social Media Engagement
Our social media presence is robust and we boast of almost Fourteen thousands facebook followers on our official Facebook page and 2,500 followers on Twitter platform.
These social media platforms help us to interact with the youth and offer correct information to their concerns posted on our wall.
Our Twitter Chats on SRHR issues, currently working together with our partners Marie-Stopes Kenya, Fatuma’s Voice, Her Voice, Nimechanuka and Love matters are insightful and youth friendly in their approaches. We have tackled rape through #Endrapeke, Teenage pregnancies and STIs among the youth.
2cheze sports program
Sport and Play as Tools for Learning
2cheze’s approach to addressing SRHR challenges through the use of sport and play as tools to increase knowledge, as well as change attitudes and behaviours amongst youth and their communities.
Research shows that sport and play are effective tools for increasing knowledge on how to prevent communicable and non-communicable diseases (SPD IWG 2008). It is important for youth to gain knowledge on vital health issues relating to SRHR but also the confidence to make healthy choices so that they can protect themselves from diseases, and reduce high-risk behaviors. Learning through sport and play allows children and youth to actively engage with, and enjoy the learning process while enhancing social connectedness between students and teachers. Straight Talk, through 2CHEZE fosters learning in this way which help break down barriers to discussing sensitive issues and creates an environment more conducive to open, straight communication (Right to Play).
Sport and play are effective vehicles for teaching children and youth important life skills such as team-building, communication, decision-making and problem solving, while encouraging the acquisition of positive attitudes and values. Life skills are critical in supporting decision making for children and youth and their development through each stage of life. For adolescents in particular, sport and play can increase self-esteem and facilitate identity formation through relationship-building and enhanced access to leadership opportunities (Koss 2011: 2).