• Project In:

Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights

$12,000 of $50,000 raised

“Young people are going to learn about sex and our question has to be where do we want them to learn? From the media? From their friends? Or do we want them to learn from an educated, responsible adult?” -Tamara Kreinin

Situation in Uganda

  • Almost 56% of the population of Uganda is under 18
  • Only 11% of that population has access to information/education about sexual and reproductive health
  • 1/4 of girls aged 15-19 have already been pregnant at least once
  • Early pregnancy leads to high rates of school dropouts among girls, unsafe abortions, maternal mortality and economic difficulties
  • Abortion is still illegal, unless the life of the mother is threatened. Even in case of rape, abortion is not legal
  • 8.8% of women and 4.3% of men are living with HIV/AIDS

Awareness in Schools

Recently, the Government of Uganda has developed the National Sexual Education Framework, that guides educators on how to teach about contraceptive methods. However, religious authorities, especially the Uganda Bishops’ Conference, is calling on the government to review the framework and make it compatible with Catholic doctrine by excluding information about contraception.

WORI aims to fill this gap in education by providing sexual and reproductive health awareness in schools, though unfortunately we are restricted about speaking on certain topics (contraception, homosexuality, sexual pleasure).

Sexuality is a sensitive topic in Uganda, so our first training session is dedicated to defining ground rules that will create a safe space for discussion, questions and learning. Pupils are in charge of coming up with rules as a group, though we encourage some basic ones: respect, confidentiality, openness, the right to pass/just observe, non-judgemental atmosphere, sensitivity to diversity of experience, acceptance, anonymity and having fun.

Our trainings continue on concepts linked to sexuality and sexual health. We explain what HIV is and how to prevent transmission of infection, how to treat someone with HIV and how to know if you’re HIV-positive. We explain the different kinds of STDs, their symptoms and effects and how to prevent them. Our trainings end with talking about consent and sexual harassment.

As we are legally restricted about what we can say as a non-governmental organisation, we have to talk about abstinence as the best family planning and STD prevention method. We cannot talk about contraceptive methods like condoms with anyone under 18. Of course, students are still curious and want (and deserve) to know about contraception, which is why our community trainings are so vital, because we are not restricted in what we can talk about.

Awareness in Communities

In our community trainings, we work with young mothers aged 14-20 and community leaders to talk about sexual and reproductive health and rights in relation to family planning. We aim to empower participants with understanding of their reproductive health and how to effectively use family planning methods.

Some of the topics covered include: domestic violence, different kinds of family planning methods (pill, condom, tubal ligation, vasectomy, implants, and moon beads/calendar method). We aim to provide women information about what options are available to them so that they can make informed decisions about their reproductive health. We also create awareness on family planning service providers and communities can contact them for support.

In order to make this important information as accessible as possible, WORI has translated our resources into Luganda so community members with lower or no levels of English can still learn and be informed about their health and rights.

In order to make our awareness work as sustainable as possible, we have trained women as community-based trainers and ambassadors for sexual and reproductive health and rights. They are now planning how to carry out further activities, and WORI will continue to monitor the trainers and provide necessary resources for them to take charge of training and awareness in their communities.

This project has received support from the Foundation for Sustainable Development, the Ugandan Ministry of Health, Jinja District office, Aids Information Centre, the local council and Mafubira sub-county Health Centre.

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