Valentine’s Day is an extraordinary moment for recalling the lasting power of a true love. The true love beyond red roses and gifts but also the obligation to tell your partner to always make informed life choices.
Therefore, this year’s Valentine’s Day, the people of Jambula Zone II in Bwaise were the beneficiaries of our true love campaign ‘Love Mu Kibanda’ aimed at promoting positive health choices among residents in slums.
Armed with sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) knowledge, skills and necessary materials, our peer educators, staff and partners rolled up their sleeves and gathered courage to go deep in the slums of Bwaise all day long to do what we are best at- SRHR awareness.
Bwaise a suburb of Kampala, is known to be one of the most (if not the most) sexually active communities in the central region with a high number of sex workers who engage in open and uncontrolled sex trade that puts at risk the lives of young people.
Kicking off with door to door mobilization and condom distribution, the peer educators and staff moved around the slum to encourage the residents of Bwaise to use condoms (which were being distributed) as well as telling them to go for the free HIV testing and counseling at the main venue of the day.
At the main venue (Mu Jambula), there was sex talk about different types of contraceptives conducted by Moses Lukwago, one of our 2015 peer educators and also there was free HIV testing and counseling was being conducted by Reproductive Health Uganda, one of our partners in the SRHR Alliance. By the end of the day, 370 tests had been conducted and 15 (4.1%) of those, were HIV positive who were referred to the Reproductive Health Uganda Satellite Clinic in Bwaise receive appropriate medical attention.
In the evening, we had musical performances by some of the celebrated local artists appealing to slum dwellers which were Van Data, Geosteady, Remah Nalumansi, Ray Signature, DJ Mark and local talents within Bwaise. These artists, were performing as our cultural icons to appeal to young people and inform them about the benefits of making informed life choices.
The last activity of the day which was the screening of MTV Shuga a drama based on relationships and HIV/AIDS, attracted huge crowds who were treated to a live translation experience by celebrated local video jockey Marysmarts Matovu aka VJ Junior who translated it into luganda, the language of the area so that the audience gets to understand the SRHR messages in the drama.
The whole day in Bwaise was a great success thanks to our partners MTV Staying Alive, Rutgers Uganda, Segal Family Foundation, Reproductive Health Uganda, AFFCAD, Events Warehouse, local leaders and the police. We managed to hit far and above our targets and we are happy to have contributed to the positive health choice making by the people of Bwaise.
In case you missed the moments, check out the hashtag #LoveMuKibanda and get to see the updates online.