Who we are

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The Health and Education Training and Technical Assistance Services (HETTAS) is a South African Registered Section 21 NPO. With advisory support in the early years from the Harvard School of Public Health, HETTAS has been at the forefront of developing materials and delivering training and technical assistance to build capacity for partners using prevention education in multiple sectors and settings. HETTAS is dedicated to the improvement of prevention education, sexual reproductive health and risk reduction strategies.

While HETTAS deals with the wide spectrum of HIV prevention education, the organisation specialises in developing interventions designed for adolescent youth. Formerly known as the Centre for the Support of Peer Education (CSPE), HETTAS has worked with governmental and non-governmental partners through schools, clinics, faith-based organisations, sports programmes, drop-in centres, tertiary institutions and workplaces across all nine provinces since inception.

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From 2000-2005, with the help of the South Africa Department of Health, the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) led a national consultative process to develop rigorous standards and a comprehensive training and support strategy for South African peer education programmes in multiple sectors and audiences. The resulting field generated approach to peer education is very different to the way peer education is practiced in most places and programmes, and is described at length in the Rutanang documents that emerged from this process.

In 2006, PEPFAR/USAID asked HSPH to develop an intervention for orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) to deliver prevention education and psychosocial support that would be more user friendly and appropriate for the needs of OVC where professionals would be consulted for those cases that require that level of support. The programme also needed to be more intensive, evidence-based and systemic than families and communities could provide on their own.

HSPH and the Centre for the Health and Education Training and Technical Assistance Services (HETTAS) began to develop and test a structured curriculum-based programme called Vhutshilo 1 and 2. Vhutshilo is the Venda word for ‘Life’ and was nominated as the name of the programme by the first group of supervisors and facilitators who attended the first training held in 2007. There were a number of different workshops and consultations with people at various levels working in communities with OVC. An important group of people were the child and youth care workers who worked directly with youth and who were able to identify some of the challenges they faced working with youth, especially those who had lost someone close to them like a mother or father. These workshops helped the development of the sessions in Vhutshilo as the programme was written and designed, addressing content, methods, delivery, supervision and logistics.

Training materials and M&E tools were designed to support both curricula, and the experiences and recommendations of partners fed into a continuous improvement process.



To be a leading resource for the promotion of rigorous, quality, youth focused prevention education in Southern Africa.

  • To coordinate and manage a national resource for the betterment of prevention programmes in different settings and sites, through a collaborative and integrated systems approach
  • To provide training and technical assistance to organisations committed to improving their organisational approach and strategy for prevention.
  • To ensure the on-going development of resources and materials to respond to the ever evolving needs of a developmental country such as South Africa and beyond.
  • To provide support to prevention education and risk reduction strategies in national and community programmes and other high risk settings through helping adults work more effectively with youth.
  • To support and practically promote skills transfer and development of human capital through a rigorous T&TA mentorship approach.