UYAHF Adolescents' Health Clinic
"I used to ridicule girls about FGM," Khaleb shares how the Power To Youth program changed his mindset.
Khaleb,18 a senior six student of Amanang secondary school in Bukwo district is like many other young boys and men who have grown up in a community predominantly accustomed to the harmful practice of FGM. He knew FGM was a passage to womanhood and that at one point if he were to marry, his grandmother would scout for him a mutilated woman.
He says as a young boy, it was regarded as a pride to marry mutilated women and acting out of stubbornness, he also knew that the excruciated pain during the procedure in a certain way instills discipline and calmness in girls and would turn the stubborn ones to more polite hence better wives.
“You know being a man in the community when your wife is mutilated is a pride, you would have privileges and opportunities to rub shoulders with the elders. This is what I grew up knowing. However, when Power To Youth (PTY) started visiting our school a lot has now changed” Khaleb revealed.
He has been part of our PTY school outreaches in Bukwo led by the youth advocates on challenging the myths and misconceptions around Female Genital mutilation, and also raising awareness about the harmful practice and other Sexual reproductive health rights challenges faced by young people.
However, following repeated outreaches including raising awareness not only around FGM but also other harmful practices like child marriages and SGBV, supported by Kapyango Brian, a PTY youth advocate in the district, Khaleb has turned out to be one of the SRHR champions in his school and an advocate against FGM in his village and among his peers.
Kapyango Brian leads a session during a school outreach at Amanang Senior Secondary school
“I have been part of all the outreaches at school here and it has helped me understand how harmful the FGM practice is to our girl’s health. I have come to know many dangerous things about FGM. After being told some of the dangers like complications during birth and destroying the female reproductive system, I looked for articles about FGM and read more so I proved that it’s not good and this motivated me to start raising awareness about its dangers to my fellow peers with whom we initially supported FGM” explained Khaleb.
He now holds and leads weekly sessions on Sexual reproductive health with his fellow students with the support of their school-teacher Mr. Kapyango Brian, who is also a PTY Youth advocate. They discuss several SRHR topics in their free days including menstrual hygiene, preventing teenage pregnancy, sexual abuse and SGBV, and dangers of harmful practices; like FGM and child marriage.
“I am grateful to Power To Youth for always coming to our school to teach us about our sexual reproductive health and impacting me with the knowledge that I am using to change my community’s thinking about FGM and other harmful practices.”