To commemorate the International Youth Day 2021, the Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) Alliance Uganda in partnership with the National Youth Council, conducted a webinar targeting District Youth Leaders to discuss emerging issues in their communities which inform a statement that will be presented before the Head of State for prioritization.
The International Youth Day will be celebrated on Thursday, 12th August 2022.
Moderated by SRHR Youth Country Director Faith Mairah, the webinar addressed issues arising in Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, Employment and Poverty issues, including increasing teenage pregnancy rates, child marriages, rampant SGBV cases, unsafe abortions and mental health, that have been prevalent in the COVID19 lockdown.
Humphrey Nabimanya, a board member of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) Alliance Uganda opened his presentation with the recognizing that the pandemic and lockdown have been an eye opener in the delivery of SRHR services. He said that people living with disabilities are finding it so hard to access SRHR services and information during the Covid19 pandemic, and called on the media to join in the delivery of SRHR inofmration.
Technology should be used to teach young people about their sexual reproductive health rights.Humphrey Nabimanya
Mr Charles Owekmeno, the national coordinator of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) Alliance Uganda joined in the conversation posing a question of what plans te country had for youth given that they made up a very huge percentage (78%) of the population.
78% of Uganda’s population are 30 years and below. However 20 years from now these will be the people to make our visions a reality. How are we building and preparing them to achieve vision 2040?Charles Owekmeno
Charles noted that SRHR is concerned with physical and mental well-being relating to matters relating to the reproductive system ,its functions and processes and highlighted the challenges being faced today; teenage pregnancies (at 25%), child marriages (20%-40%), sexual and gender based violence, early sexual debuts, and limited access to SRHR information. Charles Owekmeno implored youth leaders to push for policies that protect young people to stay in school. This is because once young people are in school they support a country’s development.
As leaders we need to look at how we are doing to protect girls and women especially when they’re looking for employment. Some employers ask for sex in exchange for employment. Further more, Menstrual health is leading to 30% of absenteeism of girls from school. Basic menstrual health facilities should be set up in schools by the government.Charles Owekmeno
Mugyema David, a Youth Leader in Masaka District said issues to do with the boy child have been ignored as major focus has been given to the girl-child and left boys unspoken for. He stressed that while we talk to girls, boys too, need the same information so that they know how to help the girl child too, rather than act in her detriment. He noted that the parliament needs to have sessions dedicated to addressing issues of the youth. The government and parliament ought to frnt issues affecting the youth.
If the same government can distribute condoms, they can also distribute sanitary pads, or reduce their cost to make them affordable to girls all over UgandaMugyema David