Our Projects

Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (DSW) is dedicated to achieving our vision of a healthy and sustainable world in which all young people, especially girls and young women, can fully realise their true potential. Central to our mission is championing young people’s access to youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) services, and supporting sustainable and rights-based population development. This page provides a closer look at the work we do – and how we do it – across Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.

At present, we are closely following the daily increase in COVID-19 infection rates with great concern. We are in close contact with all of our employees and partners on site to mitigate the adverse effects on our project work. It is crucial to us that our connection with the young people, rural communities, and networks will not be impacted in the weeks to come.

Discover our projects by clicking on the flags

Project Overview

Fighting Fistula in Ethiopia

Ethiopia

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Fight Fistula – Strengthening Access to Obstetric Fistula Prevention and Treatment

Sponsored by: Private Donations

Every year, approximately 9,000 women in Ethiopia suffer from obstetric fistula, also called vaginal fistula. Young women in particular sustain this injury when giving birth, causing incontinence and long-term damage. As part of the “Fight Fistula” project, DSW is committed to the prevention and treatment of obstetric fistula in Ethiopia.

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An estimated 3.5 million women worldwide live with obstetric fistula. An unpleasant odour develops as a result of the incontinence associated with this condition. This leads to the affected women being perceived as “unclean” and being cast out of society. In addition, inadequate hygienic conditions can cause inflammation and wound infections. However, 90 percent of all obstetric fistula cases can be corrected with surgery. To this end, DSW has supported the work of the Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa and Bahir Dar since 2006. Every year, 1,200 women suffering from obstetric fistula are operated on in these two hospitals.

Key Activities

  • Raising awareness and information from girls for girls on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) in girls’ clubs with a focus on the consequences of early pregnancies – such as obstetric fistula
  • Raising awareness among the district administration, communities, council of elders and parents as well as healthcare practitioners
  • Recommendation and referral to SRH services and fistula treatment in Bahir Dar
  • Training for business start-ups and management, and support for income-generating activities for girls’ clubs and those affected by obstetric fistula

Sexuality Education in Schools

Kenya

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Holistic Action for Young People during Adolescence (HAPA)

Founded by: BMZ and Private donations

In Kenya, over 40 percent of the population is under 15 years old. The older percentile is undergoing a significant period of transformation: puberty. The body changes, menstruation begins, questions about sexuality arise and many have their first sexual experiences – in many cases not voluntarily, as sexual abuse is widespread. The needs of young people are often not considered in their communities, and the consequences are unintended pregnancies and high HIV infection rates. Through our project, we provide age-appropriate information on sexuality and contraception to 10- to 14-year-old pupils in primary schools and educate them about their rights.

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Having the freedom to make decisions about your own body – for example, when and with whom to have children, and how many, if any, children to have – sets the course for a young person to determine their own future. In Kenya, we support 7,000 10- to 14-year-old girls and boys in the coastal region of Kilifi as well as in the rural region of West Pokot in acquiring fundamental knowledge and benefiting from appropriate health services, thus enabling them to take the first step towards a self-determined future. The transfer of knowledge takes place mainly in school clubs, where trained young people educate their peers on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and family planning. Adolescents must be able to develop their full potential! To this end, we involve communities as well as schools. Further measures include cooperation with the criminal prosecution authorities to help strengthen children’s rights and the pursuit of the prosecution of crimes against children and young people.

Key activities

  • Foundation of 14 clubs with ca. 25 members each in primary schools
  • Training for primary school pupils (10 to 14) to become youth counsellors
  • Training of teaching staff and parents
  • Age-appropriate knowledge transfer to thousands of pupils by youth counsellors, club members, teachers and youth mentors in group meetings, girls’ forums and a variety of school events
  • Dialogues with community members, health workers and decision-makers to inform them about the rights of adolescents and raise awareness of young peoples’ needs
  • Cooperation with law enforcement agencies to strengthen children’s rights and corresponding follow-up
  • Establishing of exchange forums for young adolescents, where their concerns and wishes are formulated to political authorities
  • Strengthening young adolescents’ participation in political decision-making processes

DID
YOU
KNOW…

that one out of every two teenage pregnancies in developing countries is unintended? We want to make sure that EVERY pregnancy is wanted

Help us to make this a reality – donate what you can today! Every cent is used to help us reach more and more vulnerable young people living in conditions of extreme poverty.

Together against Female Genital Mutilation

Tanzania

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Project to Educate Against Female Genital Mutilation

Sponsored by: Private donations

In Tanzania, approximately 15 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 49 are victims of genital mutilation. In rural areas, the figures are often higher, despite the practice being banned since 1998. In this traumatic procedure, the female genital organs, such as the clitoris or labia, are completely or partially removed. Women suffer the physical and psychological consequences of this for the rest of their lives. With this project, DSW is working to end female genital mutilation.
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Before “becoming a woman”, many girls in Tanzania have their external sexual organs completely or partially removed with razor blades, scissors or broken glass. Complications such as heavy bleeding, which can be fatal, often occur during the procedure. Those who survive endure a lifetime of physical and mental repercussions.

Our project focuses on empowering female adolescents who have been victims of genital mutilation or are at high risk of becoming victims. The aim of the project is to put an end to this harmful practice and to strengthen the rights of girls aged 14 to 24. A multidimensional, social approach is essential for the abolition of genital mutilation. For this reason, the project involves not only female adolescents and women but also their social environment, including parents, religious and political leaders, and local media.

Key Activities

  • Training young women in sexual and reproductive health (SRH), life and business skills, and income-generating activities
  • Founding and supporting self-help groups for those affected or potentially affected by genital mutilation
  • Exchanges with local authorities and promotion of youth participation in local and national forums
  • Increased effectiveness of existing national legal structures to protect and support victims/potential victims of female genital mutilation
  • Awareness-raising events in communities
  • Training local media on gender-based violence and genital mutilation and the corresponding legal frameworks
  • Increased media involvement with TV and radio broadcasts and media campaigns on the subject of genital mutilation
  • Dissemination of information at community events

Mobile Sexuality Education Uganda – Youth Truck

Uganda
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Youth Truck

Partially sponsored by: Wertgarantie AG and private donations

In the rural areas of Uganda, knowledge about sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) is lacking among young people. Many girls become pregnant early and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) spread rapidly. Our Youth Truck brings health services and knowledge about sexuality and contraception to remote areas to reach those who need it most: young people!
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Poor infrastructure in the rural areas of Uganda often goes hand in hand with inadequate medical care. In addition, the population, half of whom are under 15 years old, lacks knowledge about family planning and SRHR. During its visits to remote regions, the Youth Truck team focuses on entertaining learning (edutainment). Through games and sports, its staff members successfully convey knowledge on these important topics to young people and initiate discussions about sexualised violence and conflict resolution. The team also teaches general life skills for youth and supports the local health department in carrying out HIV tests, vaccinations and other health services. Wertgarantie AG provided the financial means for the purchase of a new Youth Truck and has since supported the services with an annual donation. 

Key activities

  • Providing remote communities with health services and knowledge about SRHR
  • Supporting the local health system in providing medical care to remote communities

Sexuality Education in Youth Clubs – Youth Empowerment in Tanzania

Tanzania
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Supporting Youth Initiative for Youth Empowerment Tanzania (SIYET)

Sponsored by: MUT-Foundation / Leopold Bachmann Stiftung and private donations

Many young people in Tanzania want to be actively engaged, educate themselves and take their lives into their own hands. This is not always possible. Early unintended pregnancies, inadequate information about sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and insufficient knowledge about their economic possibilities often hinder them. In local youth clubs, we empower, educate, train and connect young people with each other.

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In Tanzania, notions of sexuality and contraception are often tainted with shame. Many young people lack a caring person who answers their questions openly, impartially and age-appropriately. Communicating in a spirit of trust usually takes place within one’s own age group. DSW provides an avenue to empower this spirit of trust in its project work in northwest Tanzania. DSW’s well-developed youth club network provides young people with age-appropriate sexual education and counselling, and gives them the opportunity to train as counsellors to educate others. As a result, knowledge about sexuality and contraception is then passed on outside the clubs. Young people are also able to acquire basic knowledge of economics in the youth clubs, complementing their school education.

Key activities

  • Training of 33 young counsellors
  • Knowledge transfer of information on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) to young people by trained youth counsellors
  • Supporting health centres in establishing youth-friendly health services
  • Development of a referral system between the youth support centres and the local health centres
  • Organisation of 16 educational events for at least 2,400 young people and community members
  • Implementation of courses in vocational training and innovative business management in the youth clubs, supported by local public funds
  • Promotion of the participation of youth club members in local business forums and training courses on leadership and management
  • Promotion of the proportion of female youth counsellors, including those in management positions

Sexuality Education in Youth Clubs – Youth Empowerment in Ethiopia

Ethiopia
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Voice for Choice: Improving Young Peoples SRHR in Ethiopia

Sponsored by: Rossmann GmbH

Status: Fully funded!

Sexuality is a taboo subject in Ethiopia. Because of the lack of sexuality education, early marriage for girls, unintended pregnancies and early maternity, unsafe abortions as well as the contraction of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are characteristic of the first sexual experiences of young people. This is the starting point for us to give sexuality education to young people, strengthening their rights and enabling them to receive medical treatment.

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Young people in Ethiopia have little access to information on sexuality and sexual and reproductive health (SRH). They primarily learn from each other. This results in the circulation of many myths and misunderstandings about sex, leading to unintended pregnancies and the transmission of STIs.

DSW is addressing these problems at their core as part of the “Voice for Choice” project. In youth support centres and youth clubs, young people pass on their knowledge to their peers and encourage exchanges on sexuality, puberty, contraception, HIV & AIDS, and gender issues. This project reaches approximately 40,000 young people between 15 and 24 in the Ethiopian regions of Amhara, Oromia, SNNP and Addis Ababa.

Key activities

  • Training of 72 trainers who then train 360 youth counsellors
  • Education in youth clubs, schools and in the community
  • Training of 46 female teachers in 23 schools as mentors for club activities
  • Strengthening a referral system to health and counselling services
  • Production of over 110,000 educational materials and audio messages
  • Support of nine “youth-friendly areas” in health centres and training of 36 health workers in providing youth-friendly health services
  • Training of 20 Youth Champions to train other young people in communication and advocacy skills and promote their participation in national youth platforms
  • Training and supporting young people in setting up micro-enterprises

Prospects for Young People – TeamUp in Uganda

Uganda
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TeamUp – Creating Opportunities for Young People in Rural Uganda

Sponsored by: Rossmann Beteiligungs GmbH, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Siemens Foundation, Hanns R. Neumann Foundation, DSW

Status: Fully funded! 

Half of Uganda’s population is under the age of 15. Around 80 percent of all young people in this East African nation are unemployed and future prospects are lacking. This programme assists young people in Uganda to improve their lives, escape from poverty and build a self-determined future step by step.

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DSW works hand in hand with the Siemens Foundation and the Hanns R. Neumann Foundation to offer young people from the Mitanya District in Central Uganda new opportunities through the TeamUp programme. Each participating organisation and its local partner contributes their respective core competencies: DSW with topics related to sexual and reproductive health (SRH), the Siemens Foundation with hygiene measures and the construction of sanitary facilities, and the Hanns R. Neumann Foundation with training measures in agriculture and business administration. TeamUp addresses the needs of young people holistically. The goal is to strengthen young people with regular income, access to clean drinking water and family planning options. Fifty thousand young people between the ages of 15 and 30 live in Mitanya and have an opportunity to improve their living conditions in the long term through TeamUp.

Key activities

  • Promotion of SRH, e.g., through access to family planning services
  • Access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) by developing and expanding reliable water sources and improved sanitation facilities
  • Improvement of the income and economic situation of young people and their families through training in agriculture and business administration and access to finance and resources
  • Raising political awareness among young people to encourage them to participate in political processes and to address their own needs

Health Services for Young People in Laikipia

Kenya
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Laikipia Youth Empowerment
Sponsored by: Bauder Foundation, Becker Cordes Foundation, Stiftung Apfelbaum, Stiftungsfond Lebenschancen

Status: Fully funded!

Kenya is young. People between the ages of 15 and 24 make up a quarter of the population. Entering adult life is often difficult for these young people: early and unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), violence and youth unemployment – all these things are part of everyday life for Kenya’s youth. In order to meet these challenges, we opened the doors of the Laikipia Youth Empowerment Centre (YEC) in Nanyuki in April 2019.

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Information on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) is often difficult to access in Kenya. This is precisely why the Laikipia YEC provides important services for young people and their communities. Here, young people can exchange views with their peers on topics relating to self-determined sexuality and all related health aspects. In addition, the centre offers them youth-friendly health services so they can be treated directly and discreetly in the neighbouring hospital if necessary. Beyond this, the YEC has enormous potential for young people: they are encouraged and in some cases trained to develop life and leadership skills. The aim is to reach more than 14,700 young people with information, materials and services within the two-year project period. In the long run, the YEC is intended to serve as a model for establishing further centres.

Key activities

  • Development of the YEC
  • Training of club members
  • Development and distribution of information materials
  • Training of youth counsellors who then provide information to peers
  • Training of health care practitioners in the field of youth-friendly services
  • Training of Youth Champions in advocacy and leadership

Strengthening Youth Organisations in East Africa

Kenya & Tanzania
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SLALE – Strengthening of Local Advocacy Leadership in East Africa

Status: Fully funded!

Understanding one’s own sexuality comes with many questions for young people. In east Africa, these questions often remain unanswered. Young people have no access to sufficient information, contraception and medical care, and their voices are often ignored in local politics. We support civil society organisations led by young people. The aim: ensuring that the needs of young people are heard by policymakers.

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In Kenya and Tanzania, numerous young activists are working to ensure that policy makers implement sexual and reproductive rights for their generation. To ensure that these youth-led civil society organisations are heard and have a lasting influence on local politics, our local colleagues support them in strengthening their competencies. This includes further training measures and the joint development of action plans aimed at placing the promotion of family planning and reproductive health higher on the local political agenda. In addition, the DSW provides financial support to specific organisations, assists them in implementing their strategies and supports them in an advisory capacity.

Key activities

The project implementation is divided into four project phases:

  • Preparatory phase (Sept. 2017 – Apr. 2018):
  • Conception of a programme to address weaknesses in the 12 selected youth organisations
  • Training phase (May 2018 – Jan. 2019):
  • Implementation of various training units for capacity development
  • Implementation of the advocacy action plans (Feb. 2019 – Feb. 2021):
  • Funding of 4 of the 12 organisations following a selection process based on applications for further intensive mentoring and financial support (Sub-Grantees) and further involvement of the eight remaining organisations (Allies)
  • Implementation of individual training measures
  • Coaching activities and support in networking with other organisations and decision-makers
  • Final phase (March 2021 – Sept. 2021):
  • Organisation of an international conference to exchange experiences and the development of a publication of the learning experiences
  • Analysing and updating the impact theory on which the project is based

Strengthening Women’s Rights at Lake Victoria – Her Right!

Kenya
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Her Right! Project

Status: Fully funded!

On Lake Victoria, the fish trade is one of the most important sources of income. Traditionally, the men fish and the women sell the fish at markets. However, the so-called “Jaboya system” forces young women into prostitution: in return for good fish, fishermen often expect sexual services. Our project protects young women from this sexualised violence and exploitation.

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The “Jaboya system” has grave consequences emotionally as well as physically. In the fishing district of Homa Bay on the southern shore of the Kenyan side of Lake Victoria, 26 percent of the population is HIV positive. Due to unintended pregnancies, many girls drop out of school and remain trapped in the spiral of poverty. The aim of our project is to strengthen the sexual and reproductive rights of young women aged 15 to 24 and to protect them from violence. To this end, we work in close cooperation with the local Beach Management Unit (BMU), which regulates shipping, fishing and trade, and also involve the community. Together we are setting an example for the reduction of sexualised violence against girls and women.

Key activities

  • Training of the BMU on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and the prevention of violence against girls and women
  • Establishing a “Gender Desk” in the BMU, which addresses problems relating to sexualised violence against women
  • Organising awareness-raising events on SRH and gendered violence
  • Training of gender multipliers
  • Implementation of vocational training courses for women and girls

Special Focus:
Where do you stand?

Through our #RightByHer campaign, we work to make women’s rights a reality across Africa. Together with our partners, and our donor the EU, we research the status of inequality, advocate for change, raise awareness, and build the capacity of civil society.

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