On 2nd July 2020, a group of young leaders from the adolescent contraception and sexual reproductive health youth network from Mbale, Butalejja, and Tororo districts were part of a radio talk show on Ebenezer FM in Mbale district. This radio talk show as a result of the action points from the coordination meeting in Mbale where we introduced the network on 10th June and encouraged members to participate in the different activities among which was the talk show. The coordination meeting was called for by Uganda Youth and Adolescent Health Forum and it involved youth representatives of the different mapped organizations from Butalleja, Mbale, and Tororo. The talk show had 2 panelists who were Mr. Regan Wanyama from Elite Youth Of Uganda organization (The president) and sister Lilian, the Gender-Based Violence focal person in Mbale district.

The discussions were around Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in form of its types, causes, solutions, and where to report such cases. The moderator requested the Guests to go into details of the discussion and among the types highlighted were Physical, Psychological, Sexual whereby speakers highlighted all these forms to be existing but on different levels and to different people. They also shared how they can be addressed and that massive sensitization needs to be done by different stakeholders in different communities.

They went on and shared the causes of Gender-based violence among which were the Bad cultural gender beliefs (that see men as superior and hence decision-makers), Paying of Dowry to get recognition in the community, Poverty that makes parents greedy and very angry, Drug Abuse/Alcoholism, Conflict and war and then Unfaithfulness among the married couples.

The guest speakers also shared more specific solutions such as calling upon the police to stop its tendencies of letting the GBV perpetrators free based on favors, corruption, and victim-blaming. The young leaders also advocated for programs meant to sensitize communities about GBV by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and the government. They also advocated for programs that support funding and skilling women to fully participate in civil society activities and businesses.

Due to poor network connections and time limitations, they only received one person who called after their presentation and gave feedback. The caller appreciated the network for its good deliberations but so worried that the cases of Gender-based violence continue to grow despite the interventions by different organizations and the government.

Action points

  • The guests confirmed that the time allocated was too short compared to the community concerns from the messages so there is a need to mobilize more resources and support such talk shows on different radio stations since many young people can be reached within a short time.
  • The guests also shared the suubi helpline with the listeners and called upon them to always call in at any time and get support regarding SRHRs and GBV information and services

In conclusion

This was a good platform for the visibility of our network since the network used it and will always use it to advocate for adolescent contraception and sexual reproductive health and building demand for comprehensive SRHR. Such platforms will highlight real-life experiences of young people on comprehensive SRHRs and establish platforms for inter-generational dialogue between adolescents, health workers, and policymakers on challenging stigma against SRHR in the border districts of Eastern Uganda.