It was a powerful moment on the evening of February 20 as Reach A Hand Uganda passed out over sixty university students and senior six leavers who have been trained and equipped with Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights information while in the Peer Educators Academy. The Chief Guest of the event was the State Minister for Youth and Children Affairs Hon. Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi.
The Peer educators class of 2020 was flagged off in at a colour fun-filled event as they are to start going back into their communities and become agents of change as they help inform and implement activities related to sexual reproductive health and rights.
Speaking during the event, Hon. Nakiwala Kiyingi who commended the work that Reach A Hand Uganda (RAHU) is doing through the Peer Educators Academy, encouraged the youth to always endure but be strategic so as to harness their potential. The minister remarked to the youth, “You don’t always have to struggle. Put yourself in a great position and an opportunity will find you.” The minister also surprised everyone as she offered a job opportunity to a Peer Educator from the class of 2018. Pretty Katwesigwe a graduate from Makerere University raised her hand responding to the minister that she did not have a job. (PHOTOS HERE)
The best peer educators awarded for the night were Lazarus Masaba and Patricia Catherine Najjita. These were recognised as the best male and female peer educators for being instrumental in mobilising their fellows effectively fellows during outreaches.
The team leader of RAHU Humprey Nabimanya also emphasised “The challenges young people are facing are not only poverty. There’s a gap of access to information regarding their Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights.” He added that the desire of RAHU is to feel the gap in young people’s access to Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights information (SRHR).
Humphrey Nabimanya, the Founder and Team leader Reach A Hand Uganda explained how the RAHU peer educator model works and why it has been very effective over the last 7 years.
The Peer Educators Academy is an initiative we started in 2014 to train and equip young people with in-depth information and skills on their sexual reproductive health and rights. From our training, these peer educators develop transferable work-related skills such as communication, presentations skills, counselling, leadership and teamwork. Through the multiplier effect, they transfer these skills and information to other young people, helping them make informed life choices.
At the end of the one-month training, Peer Educators are distributed in 25 different schools, attached to different organizations and mentored for the next eleven months. Under this approach, behaviour change starts directly with the peer educator. The changed peer educator then influences a positive change among a fellow youth in schools, mainly from the SRHR clubs.
The ceremony was also an opportunity to celebrate the service of the Peer Educator class of 2019, a movement of young people who by the end of 2019, had directly reached over 16,612 young people in schools and communities across the country through peer learning sessions, dialogues and community outreaches.