It is a known fact that “Music is such a powerful means of communication. It provides a means, by which people can share emotions, intentions, and meanings even though their spoken languages may be mutually incomprehensible”.

Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum -UYAHF on August 6th, 2019 joined its partners, -Public Health Ambassadors (PHAU) and PITCH-Uganda held the first-ever District Inter-School Music Dance Drama Competitions as a means to advocate for an environment free from sexual-gender based violence in schools.

The competitions took place at Reproductive Health Uganda offices in Katikamu Luwero district, and were unified under the theme; “Together We Can End School-Related Gender-Based Violence”

The day sought to provide creative young people, dynamic safe space and opportunity to showcase issues, challenges, gaps related to school gender-based violence and also provide key recommendations for immediate action.

The area Member of Parliament, Hon. Eng. Lillian Nakate awarding the best trainer at the event.

“Young people today are more dynamic, passionate, energetic, talented, and enthusiastic to create change and transform their world. They are gifted with multiple skills and talents that if well harnessed, promoted and supported could result into some of the most creative ideas and solutions that could address the most pressing SRHR problems that they face on a daily basis.” Notes Patrick Ssegawa, PHAU’s team leader in the day’s concept note.

The competition attracted eight primary schools within the district and also convened parents, teachers and district leaders such as the District Health Officer, District Education Officer, Chief Administration Officer, religious leaders, and Police. Schools included: Little flowers Primary School, St. Thereza Kasala Girls primary school, Kkalwe primary school, Ristoc Primary school, Good Shepard primary school, Kyapologoma Primary school, and many others.

The woman member of parliament for Luwero District; Hon. Eng. Nakate Lillian while presiding over the event appreciated the organizers for using all possible creative means to eliminate violence in schools.

“Music, Dance, and Drama is one of the best-suited means of reaching and mobilizing young people and Uganda being the youngest population, this was no doubt a well-thought plan,” said Hon Lillian.

Hon. Nakate awarding the best performer of the day.

Today’s adolescents and young people are 1.8 billion globally. More than never before, young people today are shaping social and economic development, challenging social norms and values and building the foundation for the world’s future.

Maturing earlier than previous generations, both physically and socially, adolescents and youth have high expectations for themselves and their societies, they work hard every day and imagine how the world can be better and supportive to their needs and aspirations.

For Uganda, more than 3 out of every 10 people are young people aged 10-24, the numbers grow even higher to almost 78% accounting for people below 30 years, making Uganda one of the youngest countries in the world.

‘There is need to create safe spaces for young people to meaningfully participate in policy, decision making and program development, feel free and safe to creatively explore and use their knowledge and talents to create solutions to their challenges.

Written by Nelson Kukundakwe: Communications, Advocacy, Innovations and Documentation officer.