The honourable Women Members of Parliament for Nwoya and Lira Districts, Hon. Achan Judith and Hon. Auma Linda, respectively, have committed to pay a learning visit to the Uganda Youth and Adolescent Health Forum (UYAHF) youth hub to benchmark from its amazing work and how it is run so that they can borrow a leaf and share the idea to other youth spaces.
During the visit, they also plan to meet with young people and share their personal lives and leadership experiences, particularly with adolescent girls and young women interested in pursuing leadership positions.
The legislatures made the commitment during an Advocacy Meeting with policy makers and key stakeholders on upscaling public knowledge on the need for increased access to young women’s SRH with the support of policy makers’ duty bearers organised by the ‘We Lead’ Project in partnership with the SRHR Alliance and The Mentoring and Empowerment Programme for Young Women (MEMPROW) held on Thursday October 13th, 2022 at Mestil Hotel.
The meeting was attended by 50 participants, including project staff from MEMPROW, implementing partners such as UYAHF, the Nile Girls Forum, Birungi Charities, the National Union of Women with Disabilities, Light for the World, and policymakers, as well as other CSOs and students.
While presenting a policy paper on youth uptake of SRH services, Ms. Mukasa Elizabeth, the Executive Director of MEMPROW, revealed that teenage pregnancy in Uganda stands at 25% and child marriages (20–40%). She adds that the other SRH challenges faced by young people include high rates of unsafe abortion, insufficient knowledge, and early sex debuts.
During the meeting, UYAHF was applauded for the outstanding effort made to broaden the availability and accessibility of SRH services. This followed a presentation by Joanne Lunkuse, the UYAHF coordinator Advocacy and Partnerships, on some of organisation’s best practices. In her presentation, Joanne shared the best practices as holding intergenerational dialogues about gender norms and beliefs; young mothers’ forums; vibrant youth hub activities; school outreach, particularly on menstrual hygiene and management; and creative ways for youth to access SRH, like pulaniki, Suubi Helpline, and vine reusable pads, among others.
Following the meeting, several recommendations were made, including: pushing for a policy to be developed toward community initiatives that prevent conflict and promote peace; pushing for sexuality education for all young people in and out of school so that no young person passes through adolescence without adequate information; Advocate for SRH workplace regulations that safeguard adolescents, especially girls, from any type of harassment; Incorporate SRHR education into all youth livelihood programs. Work toward peaceful households and, among other things, revitalize initiatives connected to violence-free and safe schools and homes.