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The importance of engaging already existing youth structures as a means of ensuring access to Sexual Reproductive Health information and services in Uganda.
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The importance of engaging already existing youth structures as a means of ensuring access to Sexual Reproductive Health information and services in Uganda.

INTRODUCTION & BACKGROUND.

UNESCO is currently collaborating with RAHU to support the Ministry of Education and Sports to launch ‘Our Rights, Our Lives and Our Future (O3) plus project in 4 pilot University campuses in Uganda integrated with the premiering of the Kyaddala’ Its real’ pan-African Drama series on increasing awareness of HIV/AIDS, EUP, child marriage and GBV in institutions of higher learning. The O3 Plus programme is a university/institutions of higher learning targeted initiative currently running in 8 countries i.e. Kenya, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The goal of the O3Plus [Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future] project is to ensure that young people in higher and tertiary education institutions in the East and Southern Africa region realise positive health, education and gender equality outcomes through sustained reductions in new HIV infections, unintended pregnancy and gender-based violence. The project is to enable them to reach their full educational potential and contribute more effectively to the development of their countries and region as graduates, professionals and young leaders.

UNESCO  partnered with Reach A Hand Uganda (RAHU) to support the Federation of Uganda Medical Students Association (FUMSA) Standing Committee on Reproductive Health Including HIV/AIDS (SCORA) that deals in a number of programs like, Comprehensive Sexuality Education. This capacity-building activity under the theme “Social Behavior Change, A Measure of Reproductive Health” took place from 3rd-4th February 2023 and the main objective of this workshop was to To build the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of medical students in sexual and Reproductive Health and rights for Social and Behavioral Change communication.

 

VOICES OF MEDICAL STUDENTS AFTER THE CAPACITY BUILDING WORKSHOP.

”We young people often confuse certain life processes, such as safe sex, dating, sexuality and relationships, friends and their effects, mental health and safety, etc. This is a funny but true fact. It is clear that there is an information gap that needs to be closed. If given access to the proper information, young people can take responsibility for their actions and shape their futures, lives, and rights. I’m happy Rahu and UNESCO guided us through this capacity-building process because I learned a lot.’’ Mpanga Christopher Ntege, Gulu University.

‘’My knowledge of progressive, age-appropriate, and logically sequenced sexuality education, which aims to prevent harmful sexual behaviours and unintended pregnancies that lead to unsafe abortions and high maternal mortality, has greatly improved as a result of capacity building. Sexual purity is still only a myth. The Kyadala Series depicts hidden facts about young people having numerous sexual partners, engaging in sexual activity while receiving favours, and using protection. It demonstrates the control that close friends have over their friend’s sexual behaviour.’’ Lwasabula Alex, Makerere University Kampala.

“I appreciated how the organisers worked with and coordinated with us, the participants, as well as how they looked out for us in terms of accommodation and food. In relation to sexual problems that are relevant to us young people, I learned how to handle myself.” Tumuhimbise Brenda, King Caesar University.

“I enjoyed the engaging discussions we had with our facilitators, and I also gained knowledge on how to provide age-appropriate sexual and reproductive health information to anyone in need. Educating young people more about HIV transmission as well as the sexual behaviour of young children. I recommend getting more hands-on interactions with the young people and holding training sessions more frequently. I also wish more young people would be Included in the Kyaddal series.” Ashaba Caroline, Mbarara University.

”Being a part of this program was a fantastic opportunity, and I feel blessed and thankful. We learned a great deal about various health issues, including how to address them both individually and communally. Given that we haven’t been studying much about reproductive health in school, it was a blessing to learn more about it. We also learned about the O3+ program, whose primary goal is to empower young people and give them the chance to have a successful future. We also attended a lecture on sexuality, which made us aware of a number of previously unknown facets of life. I hope to pass on this information about it and all the other guidelines to our community in order for the parents and teachers to be guides while bringing up a new generation.” Babigumira Hudah Hassan, IUIU

“I gained knowledge about how to organise sessions on sexuality education and reproductive health. I appreciated the information provided and the thorough way it was organised. More education campaigns are required to provide our society with accurate, understandable knowledge about sexual and reproductive health.” Hakiranuye Samuel, Kampala International University Western Campus.

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