Friday, 14th of June 2019 – Ugandan Youth and Adolescent Health Forum, held yet another edition of its famous, and ongoing school outreaches code-named –Books before Babies. This time, it was at Kissule primary school in Bukoto from where we discussed various topics concerning gender equality adolescent health and empowerment of young girls. We are glad to have been warmly received by the school administration led by Ms. Sanyu Namuddu, who applauded our school outreaches initiative, calling it a necessity in sensitizing young people about sex education.

The books before babies show host Leticia, during the presentation

‘It’s no longer shocking that students from as young as 8 and less, mostly in lower primary know a more about sex and relationships. Sadly, because they access this information from mostly unregulated channels and platforms, they form their own conclusions towards the same, which influences the decisions they make in life without consultations to those akin to them’ Says Sanyu Namuddu, the headteacher at  Kisuule primary school

She added saying, “It’s paramount to that the sexuality framework is approved and embraced to allow schools take freely educate both boys and girls at young ages with age-appropriate information to allow them to make informed decisions”.

Over 70 pupils participated as our facilitators who had packaged a host of resourceful knowledge regarding gender equality, HIV/Aids, Menstrual Hygiene and Management, teenage pregnancies and puberty stage among others.

Leticia Akumu, the facilitator, who also doubles as the books before babies show host educated the young people about the need to involve and not discriminate people living with HIV/AIDs as the later fuels the stigma and frustration among positive living people.

‘Let’s not discriminate people living with HIV/Aids, we need to support them in order to break down the stigma around it’ says Leticia. She implored the young pupils to reach out to their parents and tell them about Regular HIV testing.

Emma Oketcho, one of the facilitators taking pupils through a session on safe and productive relationships

Special attention was paid to life skill sets such as assertiveness in decision making, aggressiveness, and empowerment especially in the context of early marriages and teenage pregnancies.

Ms. Nanduddu called for the need to ring-fence a girl’s from probable threatening temptations.

‘If we involve boys, parents, teachers and not teachers, community and religious leaders about how to protect girls from teenage pregnancies, child marriages and harmful social and cultural practices, the better we shall have from our young girls’. she said.