For millions of young people around the world, the onset of adolescence brings not only changes to their bodies but also new vulnerabilities to human rights abuses, particularly in the arenas of sexuality, marriage and childbearing.
Millions of girls are coerced into unwanted sex or marriage, putting them at risk of unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV, and dangerous childbirth. Yet too many adolescents face barriers to reproductive health information and care. Even those able to find accurate information about their health and rights may be unable to access the services needed to protect their health.
In partnership with Akwenyutu People Living with HIV&AIDS (APHAS), we conducted a 2-day Girls Leadership camp from 4th to 5th April 2019 reaching out to 128 girls helping them to recognize and avert risks and improve their reproductive health. The girls were trained in understanding their bodies, HIV&AIDS, stigma & discrimination, positive living, knowing/understanding their menstrual cycle, menstrual hygiene and making Re-usable sanitary pads.
School-based sexual and reproductive health (SRH) education is one of the most important and widespread ways to help adolescents to recognize and avert risks and improve their reproductive health. Schools are the primary institutions able to reach a majority of adolescents, while also having an impact at the community level. They have the infrastructure, the tools and the staff trained to teach. In many developing countries teachers assume an important role in the community, while also serving as role models to many adolescents. By providing reproductive health programmes early, schools encourage the formation of healthy sexual attitudes and practices.
In 2017, Isis-WICCE partnered with National Union of Women with Disabilities Uganda (NUWODU) and Gulu Women with Disabilities Union (GUWODU) to implement a 1yr project on “Increasing Access to Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights for Women with Disabilities” with funding from Amplify Change. The project sought to strengthen the capacity of Women with Disabilities (WwDs) to advocate for improved SRH services and improve competencies of service providers to ensure quality services for WwDs in Gulu district.
Girls and Women with Disabilities face multiple forms of discrimination as there is too often a big gap between them and the community’s decision-making, hence a special need to empower their self-determined lives and their access to decision-making and leadership positions.
To provide a wider knowledge about their rights, Isis-WICCE, National Union of Women with Disabilities Uganda (NUWODU) and Gulu Women with Disabilities Union (GUWODU) are implementing a 1yr project on “Increasing Access to Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights for Women with Disabilities” with funding from Amplify Change. The project seeks to strengthen the capacity of Women with Disabilities (WwDs) to advocate for improved SRH services and improve competencies of service providers to ensure quality services for WWDs in Gulu district.
During project implementation 40 community volunteers(Paralegals) were trained from both Awach and Patiko sub counties on legal provisions and referral pathways for reporting and response to the violation of the rights of WwDs. The project also provided them with tools to document violations and report to appropriate authorities and conduct awareness campaigns on the rights of WWDs and act as local advocates of these rights.
Stakeholders in Gulu district are participating in an advocacy forum aimed at sharing paralegal findings, discussing existing limitations, exploring necessary action to be taken and strengthening linkages for effective response to the rights and needs of Women with Disabilities and improved access to SRH services.