HER Voice Fund Projects

HER Voice Fund Year 1 (2020 – 2021)

In the Daily Life of Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) with Disabilities – evidence gathering for AGYW policy and advocacy

The project was funded by HER Voice Fund (HVF), a Global Fund Project funded by ViiV Healthcare Positive Action and implemented by GNP+ and Y+ (Global Network of Young People Living with HIV).

Year 1 of the project focused on the collection of evidence and information on the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) priority areas and challenges of AGYW with disabilities in South Africa to be used to support and inform AGYW advocacy and policy change, while also providing a platform in which AGYW could amplify their voices and share their stories.

The evidence, stories and information was collected via peer facilitation with 148 AGYW with disabilities in two provinces (namely, Gauteng and the Eastern Cape) from various social backgrounds. Peer facilitators were young women with disabilities themselves – allowing peer facilitation to provide a supportive space within which the girls and young women could share their stories and struggles freely and openly with peers and without shame or judgement. Peer facilitation focused on collecting data on SRHR topics, which included data on HIV and HIV knowledge, violence, sexual behaviour, and perceptions and use of disability-inclusive services among AGYW with disabilities.

From the data collected, a research report was compiled and shared with various stakeholders to raise awareness on the issues and challenges faced by AGYW with disabilities, in the hope to create action and positive change. The research report and precis can be found below under ‘Resources’ as well as on the ‘Resources’ page under ‘Projects’.

HER Voice Fund Country Lead, Sibulele Sibaca (left), and ARRC Director and Peer Facilitator, Sandra Khumalo (right), at a HER Voice Fund event in Sandton, Johannesburg.

Some of what Year 1’s research found:

The group comprised of 148 adolescent girls and young women with disabilities with an average age of 20.5 years. The majority of the group had only completed some secondary schooling (41.1%) and most were unemployed (68.6%). Most reported a lack of confidence and feelings of indifference when asked about the impact their disability has on them. Additionally, majority (86.4%) reported not making use of or accessing disability-inclusive services.

Regarding intimate-partner violence, 19.3% reported experiences of sexual violence while 20.7% reported experiences of physical violence in the last 12 months from which peer facilitation was conducted. Lastly, a large portion of the group (41.7%) had limited knowledge on HIV while more than half reported engaging in sexual intercourse.

For more information please see the resources below or by clicking on the ‘Resources’ icon above.

HER Voice Fund Year 2 (2021 – 2022)

In the Daily Life of Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) with Disabilities – Year 2 Looking to make a Change!

Following Year 1 of the project, Year 2 (2021 – 2022) focuses on utilizing the Year 1 research to develop resources and create support networks that will meet the needs and challenges as well as bridge the gaps identified among and by AGYW with disabilities regarding their SRHR.

Based on the previous years research and the key working streams identified by HER Voice Fund for year 2, two main project activities were identified. These included resource development for and by AGYW with disabilities and setting up a pilot support network AGYW with disabilities could join to access SRHR information and services.

The overall goal of year 2 is thus to develop resources and a piloted support network that addresses and advocates for the SRHR needs of AGYW with disabilities identified in year 1, to be shared with stakeholders so as to increase access and inclusion of AGYW with disabilities to SRHR information and services in South Africa. 

The Year 2 Project Activities thus far…

Activity 1 – Resource Development:
  1. Year 1 research was assessed to identify key SRHR topics for resource development with the aim to provide resources that will increase awareness and knowledge among AGYW with disabilities and various stakeholders on the topics identified.
  2. 5 virtual resource development workshops were conducted between 12 July and 16 September 2021 with peer facilitation and AGYW with disabilities to develop the resources. Workshops were virtual as participants resided in 2 provinces, Gauteng and the Eastern Cape, and to keep Covid-19 safety protocol in place. The aim of the workshops were to have AGYW with disabilities develop and review the resources themselves, so as to develop resources with AGYW with disabilities input and voices in mind.
  3. The resources were furthered reviewed by a consume group of 20 AGYW with disabilities as well as the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), the National Department of Health (NDoH), and UNAIDS.
  4. Of the resources developed are 3 informational pamphlets on Violence and Abuse, HIV and STIs, a training workshop PowerPoint presentation which will be used to educate AGYW with disabilities on SRHR, and a guide (booklet) on SRHR AGYW with disabilities and various stakeholders will be able to access online to get information on SRHR.
Resources shared:

Thus far…

  • 360 of the 3 informational pamphlets have been shared with the SAMRC for their participants in the Forgotten Agenda study and PrEP study outreach activities.
  • 276 of the violence and abuse informational pamphlets have been shared under the HER Voice Fund Covid-19 Response Programme with AGYW with disabilities attending special schools in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.
  • 600 of the 3 informational pamphlets were distributed during the Rotary Family Health Day event on 5 November 2021 in Pretoria.
  • 65 of the violence and abuse informational pamphlets and the training workshop presentation have been shared with a peer facilitator in the Western Cape for peer facilitated workshops yet to be conducted with AGYW with disabilities.

For more information please see the resources below or by clicking on the ‘Resources’ icon above.

Activity 2 – Pilot Support Network
  1. The aim is to have a support network AGYW with disabilities can access to get information and support on SRHR. This will be in the form of a Facebook and WhatsApp group as these platforms are more easily accessible to AGYW with disabilities between the ages of 18 and 24 years old.
  2. Information on SRHR and sexual-reproductive health services as well as any programmes, projects and events focused on SRHR that AGYW with disabilities can join will be shared with the groups. Additionally, the project has gained the support of a sexual educator from UNAIDS who will be available on the groups to assist AGYW with disabilities, where needed.
  3. The pilot support network is looking to be launched in November and December 2021. The pilot will run until February 2022, whereby the project will be conducting continuous reviews with group members to assess the need and suitability of having such support networks available. These findings will be compiled in a report to be shared with stakeholders in March 2022.
  4. From the findings the project would be able to assess the need and success of having such support networks available for AGYW with disabilities, with the hope to continue such networks with stakeholder support.

HER Voice Fund Covid-19 Response Programme 2021

In October 2021, HER Voice fund approached ARRC NPC to assist with the Covid-19 Response Programme looking to address issues faced by AGYW during the Covid-19 pandemic. Of the areas noted to be focused on were gender-based violence, access to Covid-19 and sanitary resources and Covid-19 knowledge among AGYW.

ARRC addressed the focus areas firstly by providing resource packages to 209 AGYW with disabilities attending Vukuhambe School for learners with physical disabilities and Baysville Special School in the Eastern Cape, as well as Frances Vorwerg School, Pretoria School of CP Learners, and Hope School in Gauteng. Provided in the resource packages were a box of 10 PPE Covid-19 masks donated by the National Department of Health (NDoH), a pack of 20 sanitary pads, and informational resources on Covid-19 vaccinations, gender-based violence, HIV and Tuberculosis which were developed by AGYW with disabilities and reviewed by AGYW, the South African Medical Research Council and the NDoH. The project was also able to provide an additional 60 AGYW with disabilities resource packages as part of facilitation held by our peer facilitator, Susanna Spires, in the Western Cape and additional sanitary products for Pretoria School of CP Learners.

Secondly, during school visits our 2 peer facilitators, Sandra Khumalo and Siyamthanda Soldaat, held group discussions with the students and teachers on the topics of gender-based violence and where and how to access support, as well as on Covid-19 testing and vaccination and where to register for the vaccines. Group discussions aimed to raise awareness and educate the girls on the topics of Covid-19 and violence and abuse.

Lastly, as part of increasing AGYW with disabilities access and engagement with support mechanisms for violence and abuse, school visits involved offering students aged 18 years and older the opportunity to register for the pilot support network, part of the HER Voice Fund Year 2 project activities (see project above for more information). Students registering for the network were offered a R50 data or airtime voucher to be used to access the groups once launched in November / December 2021. The aim is to have support networks available for AGYW with disabilities aged 18 to 24 years old that offers access to information and support for SRHR.

For more information please see the resources below or by clicking on the ‘Resources’ icon above.

Covid-19 Research

Under the programme, ARRC has also planned to collect information and data on Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy among AGYW with disabilities. Incidentally, a survey on Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy was handed out during schools visits with students having the option to voluntarily fill in survey information.

Currently, the research process is still in the phase of data collection. Once data has been collected from all 5 schools, it will be analysed and compiled into a research report which will then be shared online and with various stakeholders as part of awareness raising on the vaccine hesitancy issues among AGYW with disabilities.

Covid-19 Response Programme – Resource Development

During the end of October and beginning of November 2021, ARRC NPC provided consultancy and resource development services to HER Voice Fund and Y+ Global as part of the Covid-19 Response programme for the development of Covid-19 resources for AGYW in all their diversity.

In total, 5 resources were developed and will form the basis for final materials that will later be disseminated to the 13 HER Voice Fund countries.


HER Voice Fund Year 1 resources:

HER Voice Fund Year 2 resources:

HER Voice Fund Covid-19 Response Programme resources:

Contact Us:

For more information contact Jacquli Kaschula (Project Coordinator) at:

Email: jacquli1997@gmail.com
Tel: +27 76 145 5926

Afrique Rehabilitation and Research Consultants NPC on:

WhatsApp: +27 67 005 7868
Call: +27 72 713 4649

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