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The regional Safeguard Young People (SYP) programme empowers adolescents and young people aged 10 to 24 years to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections (including HIV), early and unintended pregnancy, unsafe abortion, early marriage, gender-based violence (GBV) and other harmful cultural practices. In achieving this end, the SYP programme promotes gender-equitable norms, an enabling legal and policy environment, comprehensive sexuality education (CSE), and high-quality adolescent and youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health (AYFSRH) services.

The SYP programme journey started in 2013. Over nearly a decade, its work has been structured into Phases 1 and 2 (2014–2016 and 2017–2019, respectively). It is currently in Phase 3 (2020–2022).In 2021, four new countries (Angola, Mozambique, Rwanda and Tanzania) joined the SYP programme, in addition to the initial eight (Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe).

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is funding the programme expansion into Rwanda, Tanzania and Mozambique until 2023. The total funding provided by SDC for these expansions will be US$9 million. The Embassy of the Netherlands will provide US$11 million for the SYP programme in Angola and Mozambique until 2026.These expansions reflect the positive impact that the SYP programme is having on young people’s health and rights, and on their lives and livelihoods, through successful partnerships, creative strategies and dynamic programming within the region and in the implementing countries.