Women's health and empowerment programme

About the programme

Women's health and empowerment programme is an advocacy, mass media and mobilisation programme that addresses gender inequalities by encouraging young women to draw on their inner strength, power and self confidence that can guide their life decisions. The programme addresses issues such as rape; sexual violence; dual protection; breast, cervical cancer and STI screening; and transactional sex.  It is a collaborative partnership with the Department of Higher Education and Training, Department of Health, Department of Social Development, the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities supported by the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) Women's Sector, and USAID/JHU HIV Communication programme and PEPFAR .

The goals of the HEAIDS Women's Health and Empowerment Programme are aligned with the SANAC strategy for accelerated HIV prevention among girls and young women in South Africa.

The principle focus of the programme is to educate, create awareness and provide young women with the correct information, knowledge and skills that will enable them to make informed decisions.

The programme also draws from the ZAZI campaign (know yourself) developed by the Department of Social Development which provides young women an opportunity for young women to take charge in the prevention of HIV, draw on their inner strength, and define who they are", commented Nomfundo Eland, Chairperson of the SANAC Women's Sector.

She added that "the vast majority of HIV infections occur among women. Young women, in particular, are at a greater risk of HIV infection as they often find themselves in situations that force them to have unprotected sex with older men in exchange for money or gifts. In addition, the perpetration and acceptance of gender-based violence, including sexual violence, endangers the lives of many women - young and old. These are the issues that the Zazi Campaign seeks to address".

Fundamental to this campaign is to advocate for women to have greater access to key services and commodities that can help stop new HIV infections, minimise unwanted pregnancies, prevent mother to child transmission of HIV and ensure healthy lifestyles and early detection and management of chronic diseases.


Higher Education Institutions that would like to implement the HEAIDS Women's Health and Empowerment programme on their campus, should fill in the activation request form below and send it to Alex@hesa.org.za (universities only) or Brenda@hesa.org.za (FETs only).

Programme Managers

Alex Semba - University Support

Mr Alex Semba has extensive experience in project management. He holds a Master's Degree in Philosophy in HIV and AIDS Management from Stellenbosch University. Alex joined HEAIDS from the University of the Western Cape's HIV and AIDS programme where he was the Peer Education Coordinator. Prior to that Alex was a Peer Education Officer, Project Officer and Acting Head of Department at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology's HIV/AIDS Unit.

E-Mail: alex@hesa.org.za      Phone: 012 481 2802


 Brenda White - FET Colleges Support

Brenda White has been appointed HEAIDS: Project Manager for the First Things First HCT campaign in January 2013 to manage the FTF campus activations. Brenda joined HEAIDS from FPD with strong Project Management skills. She holds B Sc Ed and B Com Honours degrees from the University of Johannesburg (previously RAU) and certificates in Pastoral Narrative Therapy (UNISA) and Advanced Health Management Programme (2011, Yale University). She has written and presented on HIV/AIDS services, the role of traditional healers in HIV/AIDS referral, and early detection of HIV/AIDS in children.

E-Mail:brenda@hesa.org.za       Phone: 012 484 1137