Uganda Youth and Adolescent Health Forum carried out three capacity-building pieces of training that were attended by participants from youth-led, youth-serving organizations to enable them to integrate post-rape care messages into their already existing sexual and reproductive health education and advocacy efforts. Every Hour Matters youth champions were tasked to should educate peers who seek out their help, the youth populations they serve, and others in the community with vital and accurate information on post-rape care. After the capacity building training, there was a need to equip Every Hour Matters youth champions with knowledge on how to develop advocacy messages. Uganda Youth and Adolescent Health Forum with support from Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Support (METS) and Centres for Disease Control (CDC) organized a two days’ advocacy message development workshop for youth champions in Kampala and Wakiso districts. The advocacy message development workshop was held from 17th to 18th August 2020, at hotel Africana and attended by 30 participants (F 22, M8) on both days.

The major objective of the advocacy message development meeting was to increase awareness about the critical importance of quickly accessing post-rape care services and call on national and community leaders to ensure comprehensive services are available in all communities. The training kicked off by participants defining key messages and how to develop key messages for effective communication. Key messages help us to prioritize and define information, ensure consistency, continuity, and accuracy, stay focused when speaking with the media or stakeholders among others. Good key messages should be concise, strategic, relevant, simple, memorable, real, and tailored. Participants were later divided into groups where each group was to develop at least 10 key messages. During the discussion, more emphasis was on knowing why EHM advocacy messages are important. This is because many times survivors are okay with sharing their stories of sexual violence with their peers who have little or no knowledge around rape care services.

Patrick Mwesigye making a submission during the meeting

After the exercise participants were taught how to craft advocacy messages, how we frame our issues will influence how people see those issues. When developing advocacy messages one can use their knowledge about the policy issue, what you know about your audience, and personal experience to create a strong advocacy issue. When crafting advocacy messages one can be guided by the problem, solution, and action frame. Participants were divided into groups and asked to develop advocacy messages for various categories of people such as survivors, health workers, policymakers, ghetto communities among others. The developed advocacy messages were developed in a language that is best understood by the target audience that they will be communicating too. Particularly, the EHM Youth champions developed youth tailored messages that met the specific information needs of young people and spoke to the problem of sexual and gender-based violence and how this problem affects young people of different categories. The groups developed advocacy messages that addressed several challenges such as the lack of access to information by the adolescents and young people about rape and rape care, some policymakers being biased when it comes to issues of rape, people in society judging survivors, stigmatizing survivors among others. The developed messages were customized to local Uganda setting and can be used by other young people. The developed messages were in English and Luganda, Lusoga, and Lunyankole. Some of the developed advocacy messages were; post-rape care information should be accessible by everyone, twebelelemu tutaase obulamu, nange akaasanyizida ndi muntu, tombola among others.

After developing the advocacy messages participants were taught how to deliver these messages and how to follow them up. Various tools are used to reach out to the intended audience such as traditional media, social media, dialogues, community engagements among others. The audiences selected ranged from policymakers, people within the community, health workers among others. Participants were assigned 10 minutes to role-play delivering their advocacy messages to the target audience.  Miss Norah Nkyegera concluded the training by tasking the EVERY Hour Matters Youth Champions to disseminate the developed EHM messages to their communities.  The developed campaign advocacy messages will be used as a package or in conjunction with other tools and activities to facilitate educational discussions with the youth populations they serve.

Miss Nakyegera Norah guiding participants on how to develop advocacy messages