The successful completion of the Sexual and Reproductive Health for All Initiatives (SARAI) Project, from January 2015 to December 2019 contributed to an increased percentage of women using modern contraceptive from 36% to 48% in 17 districts of Zambia.
The project’s approach in Luapula, Muchinga and Copperbelt Provinces, included engaging 1,035 Community Based Distributors (CBDs) that worked with 173 Health Centres giving out information and administering family planning products to women in communities. The CBDs’ presence in the communities meant that women no longer had to walk long distances to access family planning services in Health facilities.
The project motivated the CBDs’ commitment by offering them Pass-on-loans for Income Generation Activities (IGAs). The beneficiaries from the initiative were able to start small businesses to earn an income for improving their livelihood, and passed on the initial capital to other beneficiaries upon making a profit in a specified period of time.
The project further worked with 472 shop owners by engaging them as condom outlets for young people to access condoms freely. This effort reduced unwanted pregnancies and contraction of HIV and STI infections among young people.
The project became a great motivator that engaged and supported various community partners for committing their time to the project’s actions. From the various interventions the project used, came a strong community involvement that saw the continuity of the various activities and skills acquired.
One of the beneficiaries, 47 year old Allen Katai who had 12 pregnancies of which 4 children died at age below five; and 8 are surviving, talked of how the project paved a better way of living her life.
“When the insertion I had was removed in 2018 I stayed without any form of family planning while I was experiencing normal menstruation cycle. I got worried to have another pregnancy especially when I saw a woman older than me at the hospital carrying a baby. My sister in law told me that I can still conceive as long as am having my menstruation cycle. I approached a SARAI team and got advice. Now I am on a family planning method that will make me safe for 3 years; meaning at the time of removal I will be over 50 years old”, she revealed.
While Mercy, a CBD from Chembe, revealed of how her involvement with the project complimented what she has always been doing before.
“The Pass on Income Generation Activities (IGAs) initiative, run by SARAI helped me acquire capital for my business. I got money that I later repaid to start some business. I am running a small grocery and keeping 75 broiler chickens at home that give me an income to improve my livelihood”, she said.
The project was implemented by DAPP Zambia in partnership with Society for Family Health (SFH), with funding from USAID, the American People.