Author: Reach A Hand, Uganda

Knowledge and Perception about Family Planning by Women in Uganda

Blog post by Sylvester Nnyombi, Content Guru, Reach A Hand, Uganda Phoebe Nabaweesa* was 22 years when she decided to try a family planning option mid last year. She zeroed in on the injection primarily because she had observed its impact on her best friend for quite some time. Most of which was positive- at least as far as she was concerned. Phoebe’s friend had a good appetite, gained weight and was having sex without getting pregnant. Phoebe went to a clinic in Konge, one of the suburbs of Kampala, with a preset mind to receive the injection. Parting with 4,000UGX (Approx. $1) she received it, and that’s when all hell broke loose. “I had a constant flow of blood from the time I got the injection. It was like having my period every day for three months!” the 23-year old factory worker in Konge narrates. Having seen the blood flow for a month, she returned to the health facility, this time seeking medical attention. The attendants tactfully told her that the body needed time to get …

Involving Men and Boys in Efforts to Achieve a #BetterLife4Girls

One may wonder why men and boys involvement in matters like teenage pregnancies and child marriages is important. Well, it is clearly because behind every teenage pregnancy or child marriage, there is a male involved. In the wake of the movement to end child marriage and teenage pregnancy, young people, parents, religious, cultural  and community leaders have to be called to action. Because these are issues that affect girls directly, it is of peculiar interest how pivotal the male voice has to be to make sure that the plight of a better life for girls is heard. The fight for gender equality remains incomplete without male involvement as we stated earlier this year here on Girls Globe and we won’t repeat the statistics. One part of of our agenda, from our recently concluded community dialogues in the eastern part of Uganda on ending under-age marriages and teenage pregnancies by Reach A Hand, Uganda supported by UNFPA Uganda, was to capture voices of men and boys as a way to continue involving them in anti child marriage and teenage …

Girls Shouldn’t Feel Ashamed at That Time of the Month – Period!

My name is Barbara Namuddu, a peer educator with Reach A Hand, Uganda (RAHU) and I would like to tell you a story. A story that am not afraid to talk about because I am a girl and am proud to say that being a girl is not a punishment. I have been volunteering with RAHU for nine months now under the Peer Educators Academy program where I have had an opportunity to interact with my peers in schools. My interaction is mainly premised on listening to their issues so that I, as a peer educator armed with the right information, can help them overcome their challenges. It’s not a surprise that as a girl, fellow girls always feel open to share problems that they go through with me since they know that I, have also gone through the same. I am sure any girl reading this is nodding her head in agreement. From the peer learning sessions I conduct, I always find out so many terrible tales happening to young girls in school (but …

Why Girl Empowerment Programs Should Move from Boardrooms to Communities

Why don’t many Ugandan girls go to school? Is it because they have no books or uniforms? Or they have to trek long distances? The answers to these questions might be affirmative. But that is not all. There is another, rarely talked about problem that can bring girls’ education, social status to a screeching halt: the simple lack of a sanitary towel when she has her period. Phionah Kizza has been working with AFRIpads, a social enterprise in Uganda that manufactures and sells washable cloth, sanitary pads, for two years now as a supervisor in the production facility. During the commemoration of World Population Day by Reach A Hand, Uganda in Kawempe, a slum in Kampala city, she had an opportunity to show adolescent girls and women who were at the event how to use these reusable pads. The event was commemorated in partnership with UNFPA under the theme Harnessing Uganda’s Demographic Dividend: Invest in Teenage Girls with the emphasis on bringing services and information to these young girls using the hashtag #LetGirlsBeGirls on social media. Ordinarily, …

The Fight for Gender Equality is Incomplete Without Male Involvement

All over the globe, many people have come to believe that gender equality is a feminist issue, as if to say the fight for equality is a woman’s fight. That’s just not the case. First of all, most gender initiatives continue to emphasize women and girl empowerment.  This is understandable as women and girls continue to be the largest victims of gender inequality through discrimination, gender-based violence, human trafficking, female genital mutilation, teenage pregnancies, child marriages and so on. Consequently, such disparities put them at a very big disadvantage in a variety of ways: from reducing their power to act independently, to being less educated and poor, to remaining submissive and always being vulnerable in society compared to the rights of men and boys. Let’s look at the figures of Uganda in East Africa for an example. The 2006 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey (UDHS) found that six in 10 women (60 percent) have experienced physical violence since the age of 15 and 86 percent of the violence  is from at the hands of their current or …

Reproductive Health Advocacy: Count Men In

Globally, there is a rising consensus steadily evolving among community leaders, the educated, and policymakers that ending gender-based violence and discrimination requires the full involvement of communities — and in particular, the increased participation of men and boys. This is because men and boys worldwide continue to maintain an unfair high lead compared to women in all areas – in August Houses and in stadiums; in homes, the classroom and the places of work. This is worsened by the still common practice of men making decisions for women regarding their welfare and dictating how they should live their lives. All this is led by the unchecked cultural practices which stem way back before the birth of global equality, gender and women’s rights movements such as the United Nations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. These organizations have played a significant role in advocating for gender equality even when gender equity remains not yet achieved. It’s this centralization of power on men together with primitive cultural practices, which make gender inequality a thorn in the foot of …

Ending Child Marriage In Uganda And Beyond

“I have not committed any crime. It’s her parents who gave her to me to marry” Arnold*, 16, defends himself for marrying Janet*, 11 at a police station in Wakiso District, Uganda. Arnold married Janet last year and they were expecting a baby when a concerned nurse reported them to the police after Janet had gone for antenatal care. “Her parents said they cannot look after her so they told me to marry her so that I can provide her with what she needs and I accepted” Arnold further states. In developing countries like Uganda, such stories are neither strange nor breaking news. Most times, poor families find themselves at a crossroads where they cannot feed themselves and their children. The immediate available option is to marry off their girls since they are a “potential” source of income as a “market” is always available. Three driving factors come to light from the above; poverty, lack of education and awareness and cultural norms. Be it in Uganda, Bangladesh, Niger or Paraguay, all these factors are so intertwined …