Women and girls have a fundamental right to decide freely and for themselves whether, when and how many children they have. She Decides is a global initiative on sexual health and family planning that aims to support this fundamental right. Especially for girls it is important that  before starting a family  they have the chance to go to school. Girls want to finish their education and acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to stand up for themselves, take care of themselves and fully participate in society.

In commemoration of the 16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence, Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum organized the She Decides Uganda Open House on 6th December 2019 at City Ville Lounge- Bukoto. The She Decides local movement believes in women’s power of standing up and speaking out without question. The Open House was organized under these objectives: advocate for a Uganda that is stronger, safer and better only if she decides and to reaffirm our commitment and our call to respecting her rights

The event was attended by over 150 participants from across different sectors for example World Health Organization, Ministry of Health, members of Parliament, Marie Stopes international, Akina mama wa afrika, femme forte Uganda, NPC among others. Many of the participants committee to exhibit and also stand for every single right of women and girls as they read the SheDecides manifesto out loud and with excitement.

panel discussion at the open house event

A documentary about human rights violations in Liberia and how a group of women managed to over come these violations, which included rape, land grabbing, war crimes, to mention but a few. The movie further goes on to demonstrate the power of community mobilization as the women in the community mobilized themselves into a movement to raise awareness about what was happening in their country, which in tern let to the president being deposed and sent to the international criminal court. The take away from the documentary was that movements could end human rights violations.
This was then followed by a panel discussion on how to involve young people in achieving universal health coverage because many of the health care services are not youth and adolescent friendly especially when it comes to sexual reproductive health services. The panel had key figures from the Ministry of Health, young people and CSO members. Young people and adolescents are often left out when it comes to family planning services, sexual reproductive information and other services. Young people are also rarely consulted when it comes to the issues that affect their health and as such find it hard to access youth friendly health services. Key recommendations such as involving young people in programming will heavily help the country to harness this heavily under utilized population segment, but this approach will also ensure that these young people get access to the sexual reproductive services which they need because it is their right to have access t these services. Another important recommendation was to empower girls to allow then decide and choose when they can have children and also what to do with their bodies.

compiled by UYAHF comms team. info@uyahf.com