By Alice Lubwama
Plan international Uganda, a child rights organization has launched a 15 billion youth social empowerment project that will build the capacity and ability of young people to make free and informed choices regarding sexual and reproductive health rights.
Speaking at the launch of the five year project in Kampala today, the interim country director plan Uganda Greg Lavender said that the five year project targets over 200,000 young people in the age range of 10-24 years from the six district’s in Uganda.
This is the second phase of the NI-YETU project which has been running for the last five years to elevate the voices of young people in policy discussions both at the district and national level to ensure that their voices are reflected in important decisions around reproductive health.
The project being funded by the Swedish government will benefit districts such as Buyende,Kampala, ,Kamuli,Tororo,Lira and ,Alebtong.
Grey says that this project will build on the previous program to address the challenges faced by girls and young women like child marriages and gender best violence in communities who will engage policy makers to find practical ways to address the issues and challenge some of the attitudes of the community which open the pass to such acts to continue.
Grey also urges Government of Uganda to fast track the sexual offenses bill to ensure that there is a clear legal basis for challenging child marriages which continues to be the major issue in the communities of Uganda.
The project will majorly focus on the SDG advocacy of empowering women and girls and also create awareness on the impacts of climate change.
Speaking at the same function the coordinator of adolescent health and school health services at the ministry of health Dr Mugahi Richard said that the level of health services offered at the higher institutions of learning is not young people friendly hence facing a number of reproductive challenges.
Mugahi however added that ministry of health will work with the one for education and the universities to take integrated reproductive health out reaches to students in order to bridge the information gap between the health workers and students.
He further noted that due to inadequate information at universities and tertiary institutions, there has been a number of unwanted pregnancies leading to abortions.