From May 19th to May 29th, 2023, the Uganda Youth and Adolescents’ Health Forum (UYAHF) under the Power to Youth (PTY) program trained 200 youth advocates in Kalangala, Isingiro, Busia, Mbale, and Bukwo on smart advocacy and social accountability to strengthen their coordination capacity to meaningfully advocate for the SRH needs of young people.

The separate trainings were organized under the objectives: to support the board in playing a strategic supervision role in the management; to equip youth advocates with skills in advocacy and social accountability to create systems that enable young people to access a full range of quality, essential health services and information; to strengthen the coordination capacity of young people’s voices to meaningfully advocate for the prevention of harmful practices and teenage pregnancies; and to create a platform for young people to learn, share experiences, and best practices in amplifying young people’s voices at the grassroots level.

It follows the identification and selection of 30 new PTY advocates in each of the districts to join the ten others who were earlier elected. With their capacity built, they will be charged with leading the efforts to challenge the harmful practices and the SRHR challenges faced in their respective communities, carrying out activities, and developing detailed reports and action plans.

Across all the districts, the trainings were opened by the PTY district technical working group chairpersons who are also the District Community Development Officers. Their messages focused on the advocates using their privileged positions to represent the voices of the community’s young people objectively.

“We expect you to be active and become the voice of the adolescents in your communities as a result of this training.” “We are equipping you with smart advocacy and accountability skills so that you know the proper and systematic way to approach the responsible stakeholders and present the issues of the young people for actions to be taken,” said Ms. Harriet, the district’s principal community development officer, in her opening remarks at Nyondo Secondary School.

In Isingiro, the training was held in Isingiro town council, Mbale in Nyonodo sub-county, Busia in Buyanga sub-county, Kalangal in Bubeke Island, and Bukwo in Riwo sub-county. It was characterized by group discussions and presentations by the advocates, who, among key issues, identified the key SRHR challenges in their respective communities, the barriers to accessing SRHR services, and their role as advocates in addressing these challenges.

Following the trainings, the youth advocates created SMART objectives and work plans for the most pressing SRHR challenges, which they will put into action with the program’s assistance.