Two districts in eastern Uganda have received UGX 16.8 billion Shillings from the Norwegian government for creating awareness for sexual and reproductive health and rights among adolescents in the area.
Kamuli and Mayuge districts have received funding for activities under a three-year project dubbed “My Body, My Life, My World” geared towards empowering girls and young women to decide over their bodies and ensure access to comprehensive adolescent and youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health information and services.
The project starts in January 2023 until 2025 and will be implemented by the UNFPA, Care International-Uganda for Mindset training, and Marie Stopes Uganda for equipment supplies.
While signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the project in Kampala Tuesday, Elin Ostebo Johansen, the Norwegian Ambassador to Uganda, said that many young people in Uganda lack the knowledge they need to make responsible decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.
“It makes them vulnerable to violence, child marriage, and unplanned teenage pregnancies,” she said. She added that among the issues Norway is here for, is to support Uganda achieve its goals, especially in social transformation and development and the project is in line with this objective. The project’s primary target group is young people aged 10 to 24, both in and out of school.
The other target group is the people who directly or indirectly influence the lives of these young people, like parents, leaders at all levels, policymakers, and well as health service providers.
Reports from UNFPA, indicate that by September 2021, the 18 months of the COVID-19-induced lockdown, the longest school closure worldwide, Uganda registered up to 644,955 teenage pregnancies, Busoga region registered 89,347 cases, the highest number in the country.
Mary Otieno, the UNFPA Uganda country representative said that the sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescents and young women in Uganda have largely remained unmet, leading to many challenges and inequalities in society.
“This project will have a great impact on reducing unintended pregnancies in these districts, STIs and HIV infections, as well as maternal deaths. It will empower adolescents and young people, including those in hard-to-reach communities, and those most at risk, to decide over their own bodies, make informed choices and utilize high quality, integrated information, and services,” she said.
Apollo Gabazira, the Country Director of Care International said that as a group they have been working towards achieving this arrangement for more than two years. He adds that now is the time to deliver and save the youths.
“The overall goal is to increase the utilization of integrated sexual and reproductive health rights services by adolescents and youth aged 10 to 24 in Uganda with a focus on the two highly burdened districts,” he said.