Vhutshilo - The evidence

An evaluation of Vhutshilo 1 was conducted in 2008 by Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC). The project report and findings, With a Little Help from our Friends, was based on data from 7 sites. Because of the age of group members and the sensitivity of the content, written surveys were not an option, and HSRC developed a variety of observation and assessment tools. The evaluation confirmed the viability of the model as a delivery system for involving youth in prevention education and psychosocial support.

The 2009 HSRC evaluation of Vhutshilo 2 was more extensive and is comprehensively described in a report entitled Think for Yourself, Think for Tomorrow. It included a survey administered twice to Vhutshilo 2 participants, at the end of their experience (post-test) and 4 months thereafter (delayed post), and once to comparable but unexposed youth in the same time period. The evaluation team made multiple visits to implementing sites, attending planning meetings and training workshops, observing various Vhutshilo 2 sessions and conducting focus groups and interviews with Vhutshilo 2 members, peer educators, supervisors, community members, and partner organisation managers.

In 2015, USAID commissioned an assessment of Vhutshilo 1 (the old version) and Vhutshilo 2 entitled Evaluation of Vhutshilo 1 and 2 Curricula in South Africa: Summary Report. The assessment found "that Implementing partners appreciated that the curricula were:

1) contextually relevant,
2) well structured,
3) had a sustained intervention period,
4) integrated HIV prevention and psychosocial support,
5) peer led,
6) created group interactions,
7) included sexual and reproductive health issues,
8) promoted positive agency,
9) created awareness of local services,
10) fostered children and youth resilience, and
11) fun and creative".

An additional survey of 13 prevention curricula in South Africa, conducted by FHI 360 on request from USAID, recommended that Vhutshilo 2 was one of the ‘go to’ curriculum for prevention in South Africa (with some additions to the curriculum content).
FHI 360 (2013)
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