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Swahili language teacher's guides

Good news! The Swahili versions of the teacher's guides are now available on this website. 


MEMA kwa Vijana at the International AIDS Conference

The MEMA kwa Vijana team presented various findings from the project at the International AIDS Conference in Vienna, July 17-23 2010. Details of presentations can be found here (word doc).

HIV prevention in young people in sub-Saharan Africa: A systematic review and update of the evidence (pdf, 144kb)

HIV infection among young people in northwest Tanzania: the role of biological, behaviour and socio-demographic risk factors (pdf, 53kb)

Factors associated with HSV-2 infection among young people in northwestern Tanzania (pdf, 55kb)

What sticks in the mind? Rural Tanzanian young people's memories of an in-school sexual and reproductive health intervention 7-9 years later (pdf, 55kb)

Influences on rural Tanzanian young people's sexual behaviours: a qualitative study (pdf, 585kb)


Preventing HIV among young people in sub-Saharan Africa

The MEMA kwa Vijana team have updated a systematic review on HIV prevention interventions for young people in sub-Saharan Africa to include the results of the further survey and other important recent research. This updated review provides recommendations on which types of interventions there is enough evidence  for to recommend scaling up. 

MEMA kwa Vijana researchers helped to organise a technical workshop on HIV Prevention among young people in sub-Saharan Africa: The way forward.  Key experts from governments, implementing partners, research institutions, international technical agencies, development partners, funding agencies, and young people participated. The workshop examined the evidence on HIV prevention interventions, and developed recommendations for policy makers, programme implementers, researchers and donors. These are available in the full report (pdf, 1.2mb), and a summary version (pdf, 179kb).


Results of long-term follow-up

The results of the long-term follow up of the MEMA kwa Vijana are now out. They show that the intervention was successful in increasing young people's knowledge about HIV, but this did not lead to a reduction in HIV. More info...


Why Young People?

Young people need crucial life skills, knowledge and understanding of prevention methods and risky behaviours in order to make correct and informed decisions. Research has shown that it is generally easier to prevent risky behaviours than to change them once established; there is therefore a need to target young people prior to the initiation of sexual activity (Grunseit 1997, Barnett et al 1995). In 2007 there were an estimated 5.4 million young people 15-24 years old (3.2 million in Sub-Saharan Africa), and an unknown number of 10-14 year olds, living with HIV. Unless there is significant scale-up of effective prevention programmes, young people will continue to become infected (WHO 2008).

There is an urgent need for high quality evidence on which strategies for preventing HIV amongst young people work best, and for this to inform programmes that are implemented.

The current Universal Primary Education policies in Sub-Saharan Africa and in particular Tanzania mean that the majority of young people are enrolled in school at this time in their lives. This provides an excellent opportunity for intervention prior to the acquisition of risky sexual behaviours.


About MEMA kwa Vijana

MEMA kwa Vijana is an adolescent sexual and reproductive health programme, working in schools, health facilities and communities in Mwanza Region, Tanzania. Its goal is to improve the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents in Mwanza Region and beyond. MEMA kwa Vijana has over ten years of research and implementation experience.

The MEMA kwa Vijana package of adolescent sexual and reproductive health interventions includes:

  • teacher-led, peer-assisted in-school sexual and reproductive health education
  • youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services
  • community-based condom promotion and distribution (Phase One only)
  • community activities

MEMA kwa Vijana has produced nationally approved Swahili language teacher’s guides for standards 5-7 (the last 3 years of primary school in Tanzania), a teacher’s resource book, and flipchart. Schools in countries such as Zambia and Zimbabwe are now also using adaptations of some of the MEMA kwa Vijana materials.

MEMA kwa Vijana works closely with the local government authorities in Mwanza Region, providing technical support to help them to implement their District multi-sectoral AIDS plans. It aims to provide policymakers at national and international level with evidence and recommendations on effective interventions for preventing HIV and improving the sexual health of young people.

Overview of MEMA kwa Vijana


A brief overview of the MEMA kwa Vijana components:


  1. MkV1 Interventions (1997-2002) were developed over a 12 month period and then introduced into 10 randomly chosen intervention communities, with 10 similar communities acting as comparison communities.
  2. MkV1 Trial (1998-2002) used a cluster randomised controlled design to evaluate the impact of the interventions on HIV incidence, the prevalence of several other sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, reported sexual behaviours (eg. sexual debut, condom use), and knowledge and reported attitudes related to sexual and reproductive health.
  3. MkV Trial Long-term Evaluation (2007-2008) is evaluating the long-term impact of the interventions is being carried out in 2007-2008, the first results from which will be reported in late 2008.


MkV1 Health and Lifestyles Research (HALIRA) Programme (1999-2002) was an extraordinarily large qualitative research project that investigated the sexual health and lifestyles of young people in all 20 MkV1 communities, and conducted a process and impact evaluation of the interventions in the 10 MkV1 intervention communities.


THE MkV BRIDGING PERIOD (2002-2003): During this period, the interventions were maintained within the 10 intervention communities.



  1. MkV2 Interventions Scale-up & Operations Research programme (2004-2008) is scaling up the MkV1 interventions to cover all of the communities, primary schools and health facilities within the four project districts of Mwanza Region (Geita, Kwimba, Misungwi, Sengerema), and learning the lessons from this process.
  2. MkV2 Formative Research (2006-2008) is exploring additional interventions that might be added to the MkV intervention package in future.

During 2008, plans are being developed for a third phase of the MkV programme, which, if funded, will allow the interventions to be scaled-up further, with monitoring and further evaluation.

The MEMA kwa Vijana experience is the result of collaboration between:

MEMA kwa Vijana has received funding from:

  • The European Commission (EC)
  • Irish Aid
  • The UK Medical Research Council (UK)
  • The UK Department for International Development (DFID)