Monday, 27 April 2015

Sexual Reproductive and Health Rights of Young people in Uganda.

Background to SRHR programming at UNASO.
UNASO has been enhancing access to SRH information and services to underserved Young People in Uganda. Young people (10-24 years) constitute over 30% of Uganda’s population, with significant impact on population momentum, structure and growth rate. Yet they carry the highest burden and unequalled challenges of SRH, partly caused by high risk behaviour, limited access to information and services.

Traditional health programmes ignore youth because they are thought to be healthy. Uganda has the youngest population in the world, with over 78% below the age of 30 years and 52% is 15 years and below (UBOS 2012). Currently about 6.5 million Ugandans are between 18-30 years and the number of young people is projected to grow to 7.7 million by 2015.

Unfortunately this young population is faced with multiple sexual and reproductive health challenges including: early and unwanted pregnancies; unsafe abortion; STDs; HIV and AIDS and substance and sexual abuse. More so, these young people are faced with a challenge of limited access to integrated SRH services, and the effects of accelerated urbanization and poverty, meaning that many young Ugandans are potentially at higher risk of HIV and AIDS.

UNASO’s commitment to improving the impact of its work and to achieving greater efficiency and effectiveness in attaining that impact is anchored in her strategic plan. Our national accountability score card (2014) which revealed poor adol. Services has re-engineered our focus on SRHR.

UNASO SRHR Programming & Capacity
Against the above background, UNASO in her revised strategic plan (2012/13-2016/17) has embraced SRHR programming.This is premised in strategic objective 3: HIV & AIDS policies, legislation and programmes influenced by 2017.
The Intermediate Result 3.3 Capacity of ASOs to advocate for promotion and protection of sexual reproductive health rights (SRHR) strengthened. In 2013, UNASO with support from STOP AIDS NOW! had two of its staff trained as ToTs in Quality of Sexual and Reproductive Health Education and HIV Prevention Programmes for Young People. UNASO trained staff to coordinate and facilitate the SRHR among AIDS service organizations. UNASO through her trainers led SRHR trainings for CSOs in Kenya, Ghana, Senegal, South Africa, Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania. In partnership with Nurture Africa, UNASO is currently supporting over 10,000 adolescent youth to access friendly services (Supported by HIVOs).

Key SRHR interventions
At least 17 organizations have been trained and have action plans to integrate and / or improve SRHR programming with support from STOP AIDS NOW! Participating organizations were equipped with skills and utilize skills in planning processes and implementation of SRHR projects in their organizations.Organizations are supported to revise their strategic plans to integrate and effectively measure SRHR performance every after six months. UNASO advocates for adoption of SRHR approach in all HIV & AIDS programmes at national and local level through national and district level platforms.

Some Beneficiary Organizations;
  • National Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDs (NACWOLA),
  • Ugandan American Partnership Organization (UAPO),
  • Wakiso District Network of AIDS Service Organization (WADNASO),
  • Kitwe Charitable Initiative (KCI), World Education Bantwana,
  • Asiika Obulamu PHA Group,
  • Kayunga Orphans Education Care and Support Program,
  • Kiyita Family Alliance for Development (KIaFAD),
  • AIDS Care Education and Training (ACET),
  • Community Awareness and Response on AIDS (CARA)
  • Child Care and Youth Empowerment Foundation (CCAYEF)
  • Community Health and Information Network (CHAIN)
  •  HuysLink Community Initiative (HUYSLINU)
  • Integrated Family Care Support Ugand (IFACASU).
Lessons & Experiences
  • Use of local evidence to inform SRHR is vital to create lasting impact and change.
  • The demand for integration of SRHR among AIDS service organizations is enormous but capacity is still limited.
  • Advocacy to influence policies &and legislations that facilitate SRHR at all levels is still paramount.
Opportunities at UNASO for SRHR programming
  • UNASO organized a meeting for all trainers from the African region to chat a way forward on how to carry on this activity beyond 2015 (a plan exists).
  • Large membership at UNASO in need for SRHR.
  • Available human resources (ToTs) to facilitate knowledge transfer to others.
  • SRHR is a key and priority focus for the national SP.
  • UNASO is self coordinating Entity for young people in the country which facilitates coordination and scale up of intervention