In 2022, ACTADE joint Plan International Finland on their mission to provide access and information about Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) to young people in Uganda. Plan International is implementing this project to strengthen capacities of communities to increase the access and awareness of people’s SRHR. They ensure that SRHR services are gender and youth friendly and include persons with disability. To do so, they pay special attention to change social norms and stigmata that affect access to these services. Five different thematic areas have been identified during their work, where knowledge and information flow is key:
- Climate Change
- Innovation and Digital Development
- Social Norm Change
For each of this thematic area, a partner organization has been brought on board to assist in the development of relevant content and activities. And for the area of climate change, ACTADE has been contracted to deliver training materials, workshops and stakeholder mobilization for different target groups.
Generally speaking, the target group are young people between 10-24. This group is then further split up into cluster for in-school (12-15) and out-of-school youth (10-24). The project is primarily targeting the Lango-Subregion in the North of Uganda that consists of 27 sub-counties in total. For each of the sub-counties, partner organization have been identified that implement the activities in their local communities. These activities are set to meet the intended outcomes, e.g. comprehensive sexuality education for in-school youth, Champions of Change for out-of-school youth, innovation hubs, Village Savings and Loan Association mobilization, intergenerational dialogues, community outreaches, media engagement as well as advocacy engagements.
These activities are set to meet the intended outcomes, e.g. comprehensive sexuality education for in-school youth, Champions of Change for out-of-school youth, innovation hubs, Village Savings and Loan Association mobilization, intergenerational dialogues, community outreaches, media engagement as well as advocacy engagements.
For ACTADE, the main task is to develop in-school and out-of-school training materials on climate change and provide workshops for the trainers that will deliver the trainings at the local level. Moreover, we are developing checklists for other partners working with health centres, schools and youth under the innovation hubs to ensure that climate change is addressed appropriately in their day-to-day activities. This is of utmost importance, because at the local level we can already see the devasting impacts of climate change. The communities in the Lango-Subregion suffer from droughts and floods. The consequences of these extreme weather events are mostly felt in form of the low crop production that results in loss of income and food insecurity. Moreover, infrastructure and property damages in homesteads, bridges, health facilities and schools are common, which then lead to temporary displacements and WASH issues. However, in the communities we can also observe that especially the loss of income and food security are disproportionally affecting the most vulnerable. Stories of marrying of underage girls due to income and property loss, stealing, teenage pregnancies as well as increased domestic violence are common after severe climate change impacts. Moreover, there is also a gender component to these effects. Especially in times of water and firewood scarcity, women and girls are more exposed to sexual and gender-based violence, either from intimate partners or from other people who are in charge of making decisions over resources. This can be people who are for instance guarding or occupying access to water and firewood sources and force girls into transactional sex. But it can also be families taking their daughters out of school and marrying them off in young age as a mechanism to cope with the increased stress on their financial and natural capital. Pulling girls out of schools has severe impacts on their SRHR because it breaks their support system. They not only lack more information but also safeguarding from teachers and peers as a social security net. In general, young people in Uganda already have challenges in their access to SRHR services. Climate change then adds another layer to this that will further compound the problem. Therefore, the nexus of climate change and SRHR, especially for young people, is getting increasingly important.