Mobilizing and reaching the young people and adolescent reproductive health duty bearers has never been easy! However creative strategies like Sports gala’s have proven to be friendly approaches to bring these groups to one platform.
As such therefore, Naguru Teenage Information and Health Center and other partners including Reach out Mbuya, Naguru Teenage information and Health Center, Makerere University Joint AIDS program (MJAP), Straight Talk foundation, Marie stopes, Mild May Uganda, Marie stopes, DSW Uganda, Treasure Life center, Turckle Africa, Namugongo fund for special children and Naguru Health network and MUJHU conducted the 9th Annual Adolescent sports gala on 17th September 2016 at Namboole Stadium. The gala that attracted 1021(442Females and 549 males) young people focused on “equipping Young people with knowledge and life skills through fun and experiential learning as means of supporting them to effectively make informed decisions concerning their sexuality, reproductive health and rights”.
The event was used as platform to hold the duty bearer accountable. The chief guest – Mayor Nakawa Division Eng. Balimwezo Ronald Nsubuga – highlighted the need to support the young people, reach them with information and address their needs through sports and other youth friendly strategies. He further said Uganda’s population is predominantly filled with young people with 52.4% under 15 years while adolescents (10-19 years) comprise of 23.3%, the percentage for young people 10-24 amount’s to 37.4% which calls for our urgent stakeholder support. He called upon all actors to invest in the young people and ensure effective service delivery to the age group
“My office shall continue to support the sports gala and all programs for the young people. I have also just procured an ambulance to support the young mothers” Nakawa Mayor.
Among the activities conducted was a press conference which attracted several media houses. The executive directors used the press conference to communicate the relevance of the sports gala to the nation and in the adolescent health programming. They also call upon the government and other actors to take action on;
- Ensuring all health facilities are providing youth-friendly services for the young people.
- Appreciate and embrace the role of sports and games in addressing stigma, encouraging positive behaviors and healthier living.
- The need to support CSO efforts in addressing sexual reproductive health concerns/needs for adolescents and youth.
- Ensure delivery of comprehensive, quality psychosocial services to Young Persons Living with HIV, affected households, and persons most vulnerable to exposure to HIV; with focus on psychosocial support so as to avert stigma and discrimination.
- Considering empowerment of HIV-affected young people and their households with livelihood skills and opportunities to cope with socio-economic demands.
- Scaling up comprehensive social support and protection to the most vulnerable PLHIV and other affected groups, including specific promotion of stigma reduction, and ensures that HIV/AIDS workplace policies and programs are instituted in all workplaces.
The Sports gala was also conducted on the notion that Young people are at the center of the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. They also are the world’s greatest hope in the struggle against this fatal disease with an estimated 11.8 million young people aged 15 to 24 are living with HIV/AIDS and each day, nearly 6,000 young people between the ages of 15 and 24 become infected with HIV. Yet only a fraction of them know they are infected.
The young people who participated were exposed to various activities which included A health walk with a brass band around Banda, Kireka, Kirinya, HIV counseling and testing, general medical services, Edutertainment, Games and sports, Health talk sessions, IEC material distribution. These activities contributed towards equipping Young people with knowledge and information.