About the Power to youth project

Power to You(th) is a brand-new global programme that has been approved by the Dutch ministry of foreign affairs to be implemented in seven countries for the next five (5) years. The programme kick started in 2021 and will be closing in 2025 and its being implemented in 7 countries; Uganda, Kenya, Senegal, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi and Indonesia. In Uganda the programme is implemented by 3 consortium partners Reproductive Health Uganda (RHU) as partner A, Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum (UYAHF) as partner B and Eastern Africa Sub Regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women (EASSI).

 Globally the programme is coordinated by three partners- Amref Flying Doctors, Rutgers and Sonke Gender Justice (Sonke), all established organisations with synergetic expertise, geographic footprint and networks in the global south. This partnership forms a Consortium that believes change starts in communities. To trigger this change, the consortium partners have strengthened civil society organisations (CSOs) to empower and increase the voice of adolescent girls and young women (AGYW). The Consortium fosters ownership at the country level, with locally formed coalitions and representation of beneficiaries in our governance. 

The Power to You(th) programme aims to empower Adolescent Girls and Young Women to increase their agency, claim their rights, address gender inequalities, challenge gender norms and advocate for youth inclusion in decision-making including budgeting. The programme focuses on addressing harmful practices, such as Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) and child marriage, sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and unintended pregnancies.

2021 activities and their reach

Formation of the Youth Advisory Group

The Youth Advisory Group (YAG) was formed at district level and 5(2M,3 F) of the members are the identified youth champions above. The YAG is a national level governance structure led by young people which ensures that their voices are heard at all levels of decision making. Two of the 5 YAG members were co-opted o to the CMT.

District youth stakeholder’s inception meetings

These were attended by 492 (M=233, F=259) adolescents and young people. During the district youth stakeholder’s inception meetings, district youth advisory groups were created in the districts of Bukwo, Busia and Mbale. The advisory groups are composed of 2 young people. The district advisory groups work together with the technical working groups to amplify the voices of adolescents and young people by attending district meetings where they share issues affecting their peers and propose recommendations. Some of these recommendations have been taken up such as integrating SRH outreaches with immunization and this will have many teenage mothers receive SRH services as they take their children for immunization. 

Community based Barazas: These were attended by 328(136M,192F). The Community based barazas provided a platform for the young people to dialogue, hold district leaders accountable but also amplify their voices. During the community based barazas district leaders made commitments to ensure that adolescents and young people have easy access to youth SRH commodities and information for example in Isingiro district the DHO committed to provide a special day for adolescents and young people to access youth friendly services at health facilities. The young people highlighted corruption as one of the challenges as to why they don’t report cases of SGBV. Upon hearing their submissions district leaders such as the RDC of Busia committed to supervising health workers and police persons to ensure that they do not solicit money from adolescents and young people who report SGBV cases among others

180 Youth champions were identified

(42% F,58%M) were identified from all the Pty districts of implementation. The youth advocates have been involved in the program’s implemented activities and all planning processes

The National pre-safe motherhood summit

The summit was attended by 178 (M=52, F=126) young people that were mobilised from the PtY districts of implementation. At the summit the young people had their voices amplified during the intergenerational panel. During the panel discussions at least two teenage mothers shared their experiences and highlighted issues that affect the young people’s districts as they try to access safe motherhood services which included among others, the Attitudes of Health Workers, Lack of access to commodities, Community perception is not responsive to adolescents among others. As a result of their experience sharing MOH committed to rallying all the efforts to bring together strategies to ensure enough knowledge and information is given to young people, parliamentarians committed to supporting MOH and other partners to see that there is an appropriate allocation of funds towards ADH, parliamentarians committed to supporting youth ideas when they reach the parliamentary floor among others.

Community outreaches:

These were attended by 327 (146M, 181F) and were conducted to break the stigma, address the barriers that hinder access and uptake of contraceptive services among young people. The MOH officials used the outreaches to share the importance of young people accessing SRH services and information by launching and disseminating the continuity of access to adolescent essential health service guidelines. The office of the district health officer and partners that are into service provision brought contraceptive services closer to the people in the communities

2022 activities and their reach

Books Before Babies media campaign

Overall Media reach including social media= 71,282.As a result of empowering Power To Youth champions with relevant advocacy skills, they were able to foster “social media as an advocacy tool”. One example is when Youth champions organized a twitter space with state actors from the Ministry of Education and sports, during the commemoration of Menstruation Hygiene Day.

School and community outreaches:

 The programme has reached 170 adolescents and young people (F=80, M90) through school out reaches and 162 (F=55, M=97) through community outreaches. Also through school and community outreaches, Power To Youth champions were instrumental in changing mindsets of communities – especially on the importance of keeping adolescents especially girls in school to address teenage pregnancy and child marriage. The outreaches provided a platform for youth to be at the forefront of advocating for improved service provision. Their advocacy efforts influenced the health center IV in Rugaga sub-county, Isingiro district to allocate a   special day for adolescents and young people to access youth friendly services. This is something that hadn’t happened before.