KAMPALA – The Norwegian government has extended Ugx16.8b towards the districts of Kamuli and Mayuge in Busoga’s sub region to assist in creating awareness for sexual and reproductive health as well as rights related cases amongst adolescents in the area.
The money will be used in the funding of activities under a three-year project dubbed: “My Body, My Life, My World,” geared towards empowering girls and women in deciding over their bodies and ensure access to comprehensive adolescent and youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health information and services.
The project, which starts in January 2023, will run until 2025, under the implementation of UNFPA, Care International-Uganda for Mind-set training as well as 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, highlighted that many young people in the Pearl of Africa lacked the minimum knowledge needed to make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.
“It makes them vulnerable to violence, child marriage, and unplanned teenage pregnancies,” she said, adding, that among the issues Norway was here for, was to support Uganda achieve its goals, especially in the social transformation and development, which is in line with the project’s objectives. The project’s primary target group are the young people aged 10 – 24, both in and out of school.
The other target group are people who directly or indirectly influence the lives of these young people, like parents, leaders at all levels, policy-makers as well as health service providers.
UNFPA reports indicate that by September 2021 after 18 months of the Covid-19-induced lockdown, the longest school closure worldwide – Uganda registered up to 644,955 teenage pregnancies, with the Busoga sub region recording the highest number of cases in the country at 89,347.
Mary Otieno – the UNFPA Uganda Country representative said that the sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescents and young women in the country had 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 at most risk, deciding over their own bodies, making informed choices and utilising high quality, integrated information, and services,” she estimated.
Apollo Gabazira – the Care International, Country Director revealed his organisation had, for over time been working towards achieving this arrangement – adding it was time to deliver and save the youth.
“The overall goal is to increase the utilisation of integrated sexual and reproductive health rights services by adolescents and youth aged 10-24 in Uganda with a focus on the two highly burdened districts,” he said.
Additional reporting by URN