Adolescents Sexual Reproductive Health ProjectKato S. Abdu
The historical conflicts in the great lakes region and other African countries resulted into Isingiro District having a large number of refugees (> 146,000). This high- ked the District’s population to > 56, 4465 people where 68% of them are adolescents and young men and women while 42% are adolescent girls and young women.
The large population movement from their countries with conflicts and their mixed settlement with the local population in Isingiro District and surrounding communities is associated with; (1) high illiteracy levels about HIV awareness and prevention among adolescents, youth and old population, (2) lack of appropriate knowledge of and access to Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and family planning information and services especially among girls and women, (3) High levels of Stigma and discrimination among HIV positive adolescents and youth and (4) cultural norms where parents/guardians in the rural communities still think that educating girls is wastage of “time and money”, this forced many adolescent girls into early and forced marriages leading to high rates of unintended pregnancies (31% of the girls get unintended pregnancies-IDLG-2015) and high HIV prevalence rate (16%) among young girls and women. These key behavioral and structural barriers have increased adolescent girls’ and young women’s vulnerability to HIV and has negatively accelerated the impact of HIV/AIDS on women’s and girls’ health in Isingiro District and surrounding Districts in South Western Uganda.
In partnership with Real Agency for Community Development (RACD), Integrated Community Development Initiative (ICODI) addressed adolescents’ and youth SRHR challenges by initiating a community integrated model that trained 5620 rural young girls in schools and in communities about SRHR such that they can be aware of the reproductive health related challenges, how to address them in the most appropriate manner in order to reduce the high rates of HIV/AIDs, STIs, school drop outs due to unintended pregnancies and early marriages. The advocacy component of the project also helped schools to integrate SRHR learning in their school’s curriculum so as to promote continuity and scalability of the project impact. The organization’s drive for change to enhance Reproductive health for adolescents and young women is inspired by unending need to access appropriate Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights and Family Planning Information and Services among Vulnerable populations in Isingiro District and other neighboring Districts in South Western Uganda.