On May 4th and 5th, 2022, the Uganda Youth and Adolescents’ Health Forum (UYHAF) held an orientation workshop for the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and PEPFAR partners to introduce to them the Every Hour Matters (EHM) campaign and train them on the project’s youth engagement tool kit.

The EHM project is a global campaign launched by the Together for Girls partnership to raise awareness about the critical importance of post-rape care to prevent potentially lifelong health problems. The campaign aims to inform both the public and community leaders that survivors of rape have 72 hours to receive post-exposure prophylaxis that can prevent HIV and 120 hours to receive emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy.

In Uganda, the project is being spearheaded by UYAHF together with Monitoring Evaluation Technical Support (METS) with support from CDC. UYHAF will mainly provide capacity-building technical support during the implementation. Among the key implementing partners are Baylor Uganda, Makere School of Public Health, IDI, and TASO.

The two-day workshop, held at the Nile resort hotel Namanve in Mukono district, brought together 60 participants from CSOs, NGOs, the ministry of health, health facilities, academic institutions, research institutions, community and faith-based organizations, civil servants, among others, who came from across seven sub-regions of Uganda, including Kampala, West Nile, Hoima, Rwenzori, Ankole, Toro, and Karamoja.

It was organized under the objectives: to involve CDC partners in the mapping of the different CDC partners and contacts in the target 7 subregion and the districts; to raise awareness of post-rape care support among the CDC partners in their respective regions; to engage health partners in the advocacy drive to support the demand and uptake of post-rape care support services among survivors of sexual gender-based violence; to orient, the CDC partners with the use of the every hour matters project youth engagement tool kit, and present the theory of change for every hour matters campaign to the CDC partners.

While giving the opening remarks at the workshop, the deputy team leader of UYAHF, Ms. Joyce Nakato, warmly welcomed the participants and told them that the workshop is an excellent opportunity for all the partners to reflect on SGBV and its consequences in their respective communities and collectively come up with practical ways on how to mitigate them.

“I urge you to use the workshop as an avenue to freely share experiences and learn from each other since you represent different organizations.” As UYAHF, we will provide you with all of the assistance you require to ensure that the EHM project is fully implemented and, most importantly, achieves all its objectives.” She added

Ms. Juliet Cheptoris, a representative of the ministry of health While presenting an overview on the prevalence of HIV and SGBV among adolescent girls and young women in Uganda noted that one of the stumbling blocks in the provision of post-rape care services is that, at the community level, SGBV is perceived as a judicial matter and they overlook the health care aspect of the survivor, which she notes that leaves the survivors at greater risks of exposure to HIV, pregnancy, and other related health challenges.

Mr. Jarc Tusiime, the EHM project coordinator, gave a brief about the project and called upon the participants to be keen and interest themselves in every session of the workshop, noting that they will be the project ambassadors in their respective subregions.

“I expect full participation from you during these two days of the workshop. When you go back to your regions, you will be responsible for mapping partners and organizing training of trainers (TOT) workshops for the different partners at the community level to support you during implementation,” he added.

While taking the participants through the EHM youth engagement toolkit, Ms. Leah Grace Okecho, the UYHAF’s human resource officer, underlined the importance of the participants reading and comprehending the EHM youth engagement toolkit.

“This is what we’ll be using throughout the project,” she noted, “so you should invest time memorizing it, especially those key phrases and messages,” she added.

The second day of the workshop was graced by the Uganda CDC representative, Ms. Rose Apondi, who, while giving her remarks, also urged the participants to focus on three important things: speed, scaling up, and quality when delivering post-rape care services to the community.