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World Contraceptive Day 2014
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World Contraceptive Day 2014

World Contraceptive Day 2014 – It’s your life; it’s your future; know your options

Throughout our field visits with in Kampala, several youths have asked the same thing, isn’t contraception use “for old people” literally for those who are married. Step up the world contraceptive day under the theme ”It’s your life; it’s your future; know your options’ young people were be able to put this question to the different CSO’s and if possible know the different options available for them to make better informed decisions. Luckily they were not disappointed as there were many CSO’s happy to answer this question and did this by even giving young people chance to sample out some of the options available to them. The day in its 7th edition was organized by Save the Children Uganda in partnership with several CSO’s working with young people. The biggest plus on the day was that  it brought together several youth led groups face to face with various CSO’s in the country.

As an advocate it helped me put my key message on use, satisfaction and access of youth friendly health services to the test. Of all the exhibitors present on the day there was none from government like health centre 3 and 4, which begs the question; where are all these health centers especially for an event like this where so many youths are? How do they tell the youth they have these youth friendly health services if they are not participating in such events?

Messages on use are loud and clear since most of the youth groups were echoing the same message encouraging youth to use these services and education on use of condoms like the “how to wear condom” challenge by GNL Zamba was very refreshing. Use was also brought out by the different skits played out by different youth groups, the skits played by young people with many CSO’s available, was an important platform to get the youth to talk to them about their fears while the CSO’s on the other hand opened their doors to serve the youth and clarify all the myths and misconceptions. With the right questions come the right answers but that is only if one knows the power of their voice and uses it to ask the right questions which the youth groups were exercising in their different ways. I remember one incident when a single young person I interacted with asked “Would you go for contraceptives if it was you with no children” it’s this kind of misconception that has reduced the use of contraceptives but all this was cleared on that day.

The over 30 youth groups from different areas of the city were led by  youth using the voices they knew best to encourage their fellow youth to stay safe and use contraceptives. These voices were in different media to pass on their message about the use of contraceptives so as to remove the mis-information that contraception use is a reserve for the married people but a key component of a youth as they plan for their future . Some groups used art like the African crafts, others used skits played to portray scenarios in society that hinder or stop youth from using these services like negative advice from some elders. The role of young people in passing on key information to our fellow youth is impactful since we can mirror ourselves in each other than an older person whom we are biased too.

For access many preferred youth centers where they are served by youthful nurses than the traditional health center’s dominated by middle aged personnel.  If health centers could increase out-reach health services for adolescents then that’s an extra bonus for them. Watch out for youth voices captured on this event to be shared with you soon.

Globally the world contraceptive day saw the launch of a website built to demystify all misconceptions about contraceptive use at http://www.your-life.com/ which can be a good source of information for the youth. Please check it out and share with your friends.

Semakula Emmanuel
Youth Advocate 2014
Keep It Real Project

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