Initiating self-sustaining reproductive health program for young people in Kibuku district

Young people aged between 9 -20 years account for 18% of the world’s population and 23% of sub-Saharan African population. The youth in Uganda account for 67% of the total population and 37% are female youth (world population report 2010). In Uganda women have sex early, 20% of young women aged 20-24 and 10% of men that age have had sexual intercourse by age of 15, by 18, 64% of young women and 50% young men become sexually experienced. 16% have had miscarriages, 2% unintended births, 49% intended pregnancies and 13% abortions.

Gifts and money are an intrinsic and pervasive part of adolescent’s sexual relationship. The act is that three out of unmarried sexually experienced women aged 15-19 report having received gifts or money in exchange for sex. This suggests that the practice may be a normal dating behaviour as opposed to transactional sex, forced sex, although less common than exchanging gifts or money for sex between 15-19 year old females. Young men who are in school are less likely than their counter parts to have had sex, reinforcing has protective roles.

In the cited district of Kibuku in Eastern Uganda where YEC operates, there is a problem of high HIV/AIDS prevalence rates, high school drop outs, early / child marriages, early / child pregnancies, drug addicts, poverty, illiteracy, domestic violence, ignorance about current situations and gender based violence. The adolescents in these districts are faced with challenges of Sexual and Reproductive Health, lack of gender sensitivity, lack of sanitary facilities in primary and secondary schools. Because of early transitional changes among adolescents, this has led to early forced marriages, limited accessibility to contraceptives for young people, elopements from school to marriage, and has claimed and still continues to claim about 25% of young people in Uganda.

The cause of the above problems is inadequate life and livelihood skills especially assertive skills, older men taking advantage of these young girls, poor parenting styles, abusive media and limited educative media reaching out to such vulnerable areas and the cultural problems.

Protecting the health of young people is an important priority and for individuals and young peoples themselves. It is said that every term 10 students are estimated to drop out of school because of pregnancy and being lured off by older men. This project will aim at giving significant solutions to the above through increasing education attainment, reducing poverty, improving family planning, avoiding disabling or life threatening Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) that can enable young men and women to acquire education and skills they need to become economically productive.

Therefore, YEC thus intends to help adolescents to get information from a variety of sources by involving the public health care sector in helping young men and women, conducting Sex education talks in primary and secondary schools. On top of that, YEC will also involve Local leaders in helping.