The Regional Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) Fund is a regional funding mechanism set up in 2010 by Hivos Southern Africa and Ford Foundation to strengthen SRHR work in the region. The Fund supported a strategic regional response to the multiple SRHR issues in Southern Africa faced by young people and adolescents. With support from Sida in 2017, Hivos extended the scope and reach of the Fund to cover East and Southern Africa (ESA).
The Fund is now implementing the second phase of the “Adolescent and Youth SRHR Inclusive Access Initiative” project. The new phase from March 2023 to December 2026 focuses on: strengthening and empowering youth and youth-led organizations to better defend and promote their SRHR; engaging and influencing duty bearers to design, adopt and implement more laws and practices that promote the SRHR of adolescents and young people; and finally, strengthening and empowering youth researchers to generate evidence on SRHR in the ESA region.
Additionally, the Regional SRHR Fund contributes to the gender equality, diversity and inclusion impact area of Hivos’ Strategic Compass.
What the Fund aims to achieve
Stronger and more coordinated youth-led civil society in East and Southern Africa that can promote, address and advance SRHR and its intersections with HIV and gender inequalities at the regional level, focusing on a highly vulnerable and underserved population: girls and boys, adolescents, and young women and men.
Where the Fund works
The Regional SRHR Fund works at regional, national and local levels in East and Southern Africa. Its focus countries are: Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. At the continental level, it links up key organizations that can influence the SRH agenda across Africa.
SRHR thematic focus areas
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV
- Sexual health, pleasure and rights
- Safe abortion care
- Sexual and Gender-based violence (SGBV)
- Unintended pregnancy
- Mental health
- Harmful traditional practices including female genital mutilation and child marriages
How the Fund works
The Regional SRHR Fund provides participatory grant making support to youth-led and youth-focused organizations, networks and movements in the region. It also does direct implementation in the following key areas:
Youth-led/youth focused organizations receive organizational development support, mentorship and accompaniment, including exchange visits across the portfolios to learn best practices. The capacity strengthening approach provides training and support in leadership and all aspects of organizational capacity. The grants enable organizations to undertake work on adolescent and youth SRHR and provide the accompaniment necessary for young people to lead and participate in decision-making at all levels
The Fund supports youth-led research initiatives for SRHR evidence generation and dissemination, promotes the use of research products for advocacy, shares knowledge, and engages in networking. Its approach to youth-led research is to support the establishment of Youth Research Academies (YRAs) in focus countries. They facilitate and promote youth research mentorship programs, expand research knowledge and sharing platforms, and convene and support spaces for youth-researchers to meet with policymakers and use their evidence to inform and influence policy making.
Advocacy and policy engagement
The Fund carries out policy advocacy and campaigns to shift narratives, raise awareness, and encourage the development and implementation of progressive SRHR laws, policies and practices. It also sponsors youth-policy maker dialogues between rightsholders and relevant actors that aim for broader social, legal, and policy changes to tackle discrimination and promote rightsholders' inclusive SRHR at all levels.
The Fund makes responsive grants to facilitate engagements in strategic regional SRHR initiatives and enable organizations, networks and movements to undertake SRHR initiatives. Grant types include:
Capacity strengthening grants
This type of grant is aimed at supporting capacity strengthening and organizational development of rights holder-led/focused organizations. The grant uses an accompaniment model in which grantees progress from one level of the grant to the next based on the score their capacity development plan receives. The grant levels are:
- Seed grant: This is the entry point. Sub-grantees are awarded seed funding to develop and transform themselves into a well-established youth-led/youth focused organization promoting adolescent and youth SRHR.
- Growth grant: This consolidates the gains achieved in the first stage of capacity strengthening by increasing the grant amount and the capacity strengthening objectives. The coaching and mentoring at this point is given by an organizational development specialist whose main objective is to up skill the organizations in every aspect of grants and organizational development.
- Sustain grant: Graduates of the growth grants are given this final grant so they can continue to sustainably implement their mandate beyond the life of the project.
Youth research grants
This grant supports the establishment of Youth Research Academies (YRA) as part of the Youth-Led Research Initiative. The grant supports training youth researchers, doing SRHR research and documentation, and publishing/disseminating research products.
These grants support collaboration efforts and initiatives by consortia or networks. The purpose is to encourage collaboration in promoting adolescent and youth SRHR and thus combine the power of networks and partnerships for more effective policy influencing in the East and Southern Africa region.
Special Initiatives Fund (SIF)
The SIF supports need-based grant requests (outside the main call for proposals) to address emerging SRHR issues, innovate, or pilot SRHR interventions. It is earmarked to support ground-breaking ideas for innovation, creative arts and linkages to digital spaces for SRHR information and services. It is also a rapid response grant aimed at addressing emerging SRHR issues that affect the SRHR gains made across the region.
This grant supports policy meetings, spaces, and participation in conferences including hosting side events. The amount is based on the expected value of holding or participating in conferences and other gatherings and how much these events are aligned to the Fund's objectives.
Youth advisory panel
In 2023, the Regional SRHR Fund established the Youth Advisory Panel to ensure youth voices, participation and leadership are included in all decision-making aspects of the program.
- Current funding contribution: SEK 78 million (USD 7.46 million)
- Project duration and period: four years (2023 -2026)
- Current funding contribution: USD 600,000
- Project duration and period: three years (2022 -2025)
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