OUR IMPACT

Success Story 1: “LSU Web for Life Member making positive choices for the good of her sexual life”

By Anonymous (Lupane State University)

“Hie, I am a girl aged 20 and I am a peer educator as well as a Web for Life member. Before I became a peer educator I underwent some very trying times. When I was in high school, me and my boyfriend used to have unprotected sex almost on a daily basis. The pressures of high school made me do things that I regretted the instant I did. My boyfriend and I knew about condoms as a contraceptive method but we never used them because of fear of not fitting in at school with our peers. My boyfriend used to say condoms reduce the sexual pleasure for him and I was scared to openly discuss the issue with him so I just went along with what he said. This caused me to lose focus on my studies because we would have unprotected sex and the day after my boyfriend would make me drink morning after pills. I was constantly anxious, sad and depressed and I did not know what to do.

Then it happened that I did well in my A level studies and came to study for a degree in Sociology at Lupane State University. This is when I met a peer educator who introduced me to the club and I really enjoyed their meetings because I had never seen my peers discussing sexual health and reproductive issues with such confidence. It was amazing. I felt so much relief. All the things that had been bothering me, i had finally found girls my age who had the very same issues like mine who could express themselves and get help. I joined the club immediately and also joined the web for life. Joining the club was a blessing in disguise to me. I gained so much knowledge on sexual health issues. I learnt about a lot of issues including how important it is for one to know their status and the correct use of condoms and all the long term methods of how to protect myself from getting pregnant. I learnt about the double protection method, that even if I have a long term method I still have to consistently and correctly use condoms as well so that I could protect myself from the risk of getting an infection as well as from an unwanted pregnancy.

Soon after I joined, a Health fair was held, which offered all the health care services including those of family planning. It was during that Health fair that I made a decision to have the long term method of jadelle of five years so that it protects me during my entire varsity years. Even then I still acknowledged that I have to use it also along with condoms in the event that I want to be sexual with my partner. Ever since then I have been happier and more focused on my studies and I am able to share with my peers my story. Through being a peer educator and a web for life member, I am able to openly discuss with my peers all sexual health and reproductive issues as they affect us as youth on a daily basis. I am happy that I got this opportunity to become a peer educator, because not a single day goes by when I am not gaining more knowledge through the club and helping my peers to make safer choices in order for all of us to be able to preserve our health and graduate alive.”

Success Story 2: “Surviving and recovering from Sexual Abuse in a tertiary environment”

By Chiedza (Midlands State University)

“My name is Chiedza (pseudo). I am a student at Midlands State University studying Bachelor of Arts Honors Degree in Development studies. I am young woman aged 21 and am the only child under the care of my grandparents, biological parents passed away when I was five years old and have been leaving with my grandparents ever since.

As a female student I jumped from one relationship to the other and for me this was the normal life of a college student. All the men I dated would promise me heaven on earth but almost every relationship would end after my boyfriend has managed to have sex with me. I would swear that I would never date a college student again .However in the process I would meet cunning males who would seduce me into believing that they are heavenly sent.  I would trust my partner to an extent of not seeing any risk in practicing any unprotected sex with them. Drinking morning after pills in each and every relationship was a habit to me but I did not mind, I was in love.  My relationship life took another turn for me when the guy I thought is the one took me by surprise and cheated on me with my best friend. I then decided to stop dating as I was so convinced that relationships were not made for me. 

I spent three months turning down proposals from male students and the 17th of November was the day it all changed for me as I was proposed by a lecturer. To me all men were the same however he had an element of uniqueness as he was a lecturer and was promising something more than a relationship; marriage. I then decided to accept his proposal and on the following day I slept over at his place and we indulged in unprotected sex. Before engaging in sexual relations I had to be sure and asked if it was allowed for students and lecturers to engage in sexual relations and he assured me that as long as we are going to marry each other.  I felt safe around him and we continued with our relationship and I was certain that I had finally got the one who is stable and won’t do any harm to me. 

Days passed by with me and my newly found boyfriend indulging in unprotected sex, either at his office or his place, I didn’t see anything wrong with it, I was in love. After a few months in the relationship I fell pregnant and I was confused, I was scared I didn’t know what to do. Finally I gathered strength and decided to tell my boyfriend. When I informed him, I got the shock of my life when he told me that he is not responsible, I should not disturb him any more as he is married.

My world shattered, this seemed to be a dream, to me the only solution was suicide. I confided in my friend who was a peer educator. My friend supported me emotionally and took me to the university counselor who then advised me to wait till I finished writing my examinations. I couldn’t wait till examinations finished so l went to the Students Resource Centre, where l got assistance from the minders. They engaged with the college who then took my story up through the Dean of Students office.

I managed to get all the assistance l needed through the Resource Centre, where l received counseling and even transport money to return home after the college had finished with the hearing. I also got assistance from a colleague who offered accommodation and meals while l waited for my case to be through.

After all the assistance l got from the college facilitated by SAYWHAT through the Resource Centre minders, the University Chaplain accompanied me home and my grandmother accepted me with the pregnancy. After a month a hearing was done at the university which resulted in the lecture who impregnated me getting expelled from work.

After a few months I gave birth to a bouncing baby boy and I learnt to love him. Currently l am on work related learning continuing with my studies and have learnt to leave with my mistakes.”

 

Success Story 3: “Action for Choice-My Game Changer”

By Carlton Jacob (Chinhoyi University of Technology)

Being part of the trained students under the Action for Choice program has helped me as a young man to make sound decisions regarding my sexual life in and out of college. The A4C project has helped deal with issues that I used to take for granted for example, gender based violence, sexual harassment and contraception. Being trained as a peer educator has been an extra ordinary thing to me because I have learnt so many things including how to stand for those who are afraid to stand out and speak out, help those that are afraid of seeking out contraception, HIV and GBV services because of stigma access these SRH services without the fear of being judged.

Never been a good public speaker but being involved in the National Quiz Competition, Mugota dialogues I can safely say my public speaking skills were enhanced, I got exposed to new things which I never imagined happening to me but it changed the way I used to see things.

The truth and the bond shared in the Mugota young men’s forum changed how I used to see women and in as much as people used to criticize me on the new me who would stand against any form of GBV against women, it gave me a reason to fight harder and stand for what I now believe in. I grew up in a place where there was GBV and sexual harassment, to me that became normal and I had always seen women as inferior people but getting to be trained and participating in programs initiated by SAYWHAT and its stakeholders my life and behaviour towards women has changed. I used to be someone they call a keyboard warrior, a person who finds his comfort in expressing what they feel through sending chats and messages to my female peers and these messages in most cases would be offending. I have since redirected that energy to do more meaningful things in my life, this has made me be part of a SAYWHAT student’s social media team and it has vastly improved my social networks and how I interact with people on social platforms.

The A4C has also helped me with information that I am using to reach out to young adults in my community teaching them about SRHR and also at my institution I have helped a lot of students with information which they can testify that it has helped them make the right choices. I have learnt that in as much as we do not want change ‘CHANGE IS INEVITABLE’. With stories like ‘do it raw’, ‘vauya vakomana veraw’ a lot of youths have found their way to the graveyard and it is my dream to change the way people see and talk about condoms and sexual health and all thanks to the A4C and the dialogues conducted in the Mugota Men’s forum.

 

Success Story 4: “Positive about being positive”

By Ruvimbo Mavhinga (Midlands State University)

 

My name is Ruvimbo Mavhinga born in a family of eight from my paternal side and the only child from my maternal side. I am currently studying towards a degree in sociology at Midlands State University. The long and short of my story is that as a female student who took part in most of the Web for Life initiatives at MSU, I was transformed in the way I viewed my life and was able to turn all my fears and experiences into lived lessons for other people.

I was raped by my uncle at a young age and tested HIV positive in 2010. Since then my life was filled with distress, self-neglect and suicidal ideations. I was always sick and could not take my medication as I was bitter with my life and all my previous experiences. I swore I would never be involved with a men following what my uncle did to me, I was bitter with the opposite sex.

To me being HIV positive was a curse as I knew nothing rather than hearing negative reference to it with people referring to it as a killer disease hence me being positive meant that I am a ticking time bomb. I never understood why I was required to take the medication as there was said to be no cure for it and taking the medication everyday became monotonous to such an extent that at times I would stop taking the pills out of protest.

Being enrolled at a University became a new window of opportunity for me, a pre occupation that would see me escaping from the reality for four years. However things did not turn out to be as good as I expected as a new environment meant new challenges for the parasite that was continuously feasting on my peace of mind. I found it difficult to interact with boys who were always eager to start conversations with me. Taking my medication was my worst challenge as I was having challenges drinking the tablets daily at the same time without my room mates noticing.

One of my colleagues learnt of my HIV status and shared the news with other people in a negative and hurtful manner and this broke me and shattered all hope that I had of university life being the place of solace in my most trying times. The university authorities intervened on the case and the girl was dealt with however news of my condition had already spread like a wildfire and I was facing stigma everywhere I went.

As my first academic year progressed a colleague introduced me to a Peer Education program which is always held at the Students Resource Center. To me it was just one of those on campus leisure programs. When I attended the first peer educators meeting I was shocked to find out that there is a group of students that meets just for health issues, to me it was a waste of time as most of the things they were talking about we either hear them on gender modules. As time progressed I got an understanding of the whole idea behind peer education and the resource center. I began to feel a sense of belonging when I was further introduced to the web for life movement, with my loathing of the male gender, web for life gave me a sense of confidence to take part in the resource center activities in the absence of males. As discussions went on with some females discussing their challenges I felt I too would need to open up and share my story to empower others. I finally managed to open up and shared my entire life experience and this was the beginning of a new phase in my life. I was referred for counselling and it is through the counselling session that I slowly began to accept my fate and embrace what I already was and could not change.

 

Success Story 5: “An opportunity to transform the world through music and art”

By Tinashe Jijita (Bindura University of Science Education)

Getting accepted to a tertiary institution is a whole vibe on its own, trust me cousin. It is a dream come true where you get to experience all those things you were once told by your older cousins and friends who were heavenly favored and got there first.

Blessed enough, when I got there I was made aware of an Organization called SAYWHAT (a family rather) that deals with matters of sexual reproductive health and is heavily involved with the youth and by then they were implementing the Action for Choice project.  Automatically I became a member of the MUGOTA, a male social movement under SAYWHAT. During a health fair, we hosted a Colour Festival which was running under the theme ‘PAINTING THE CAMPUS FREE FROM GBV’. This event had lots of fun and so many people had to attend because they really didn’t want to miss the services that were offered and the fun of cause.

Using one of my talents, 2020 was a great year for me as I was fortunate enough to work with one of the Gospel industry icons, Sebastian Magacha in making the SAYWHAT Call Centre jingle. The whole experience was great and educative as I got to know what needs to be done when making music for the international audience.

Come 2021, I was part of the CONDOMIZE! campaign hosted by SAYWHAT and I was fortunate to participate and share the stage with Holy Ten and Kae Chaps. I was highly honoured as I was part of the team that was raising awareness not only to the youth but to all the generations on how to practice safer sex. The aim was for all the people to gain knowledge through edutainment. Working with other peer educators, I was part of the SAYWHAT Call Centre jingle video that had more fun activities, social messaging and choreography by John Cole.

Grateful is what I am for the opportunities and the education that SAYWHAT has given me and my fellow peers both on the institution and national levels. I can safely say, I gained a lot of experience in terms of music as well as Sexual reproductive health rights.