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Championing efforts to help young people stay in school

AFOD – Uganda targeted adolescents in upper primary to be supported in career guidance and Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health (ASRH), as such AFOD formed trained teachers and functional school clubs, this aroused enthusiasm from the pupils to study harder. AFOD also organized an educative trip for selected girls in P.7, amazing success here is that four (4) out of the 9 girls from Kolididi P/S, Oyuwi P/S, Itirikwa P/S and Mungula P/S obtained second grade, AFOD persuaded their parents to allow them to enroll for secondary education which has been rare for girl child since they are seen as a source of bride wealth.

AFOD also followed up cases of school dropout girls to sit for their primary leaving exams. Overall eleven (11) of the married girls sat for their PLE.

Specific case: unlike in 2016 where many young school going girls dropped out of school, 2017 has been different. For example, in 2016, Oyuwi P/S had registered drop out of 6 girls in one term, this year 2017 AFOD & L.C V Chairman’s office have frequently visited the school, giving students information on Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health (ASRH) and career guidance, so far, no case of school dropout has been reported.
Adjumani district is highly affected by the vice of teenage pregnancy and early marriage worsened by the influx of the refugees, according to the DEO’s report for 2016, it indicated that over 500 girls dropped out of school, 20 of whom were reported to be from Oyuwi P/S. This has been attributed to early marriages resulting from pupil to pupil relationships, poor academic performance, lack of reproductive health knowledge and limited exposure to new environments and forced marriages. Once these girls are married off or get pregnant, they never come back to complete their basic primary leaving examination (PLE) or perform poorly, thus parents take it as an excuse not to support them to attain secondary education, the long run impacts are severe on these girl children.

It is against this background that AFOD designed an Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health (ASRH) project aimed at increasing accessibility of Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health (ASRH) information among young people through the school approach of capacity building, service delivery through demand driven use of the Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health (ASRH) service.
With the support of Adjumani DLG, AFOD in November 2016 –October 2017 intensified on its school health program where pupils formed clubs to share Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health (ASRH) challenges, got career guidance, were involved in peer to peer discussions, developed poems and drama with messages on Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health (ASRH). AFOD also trained teachers to guide young people; health workers have also been trained to support the schools in menstrual hygiene management and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. Part of the career guidance include; educative exposure trips to selected schools

AFOD also conducted advocacy dialogues with parents to support adolescent education with particular emphasis on girl child education, AFOD persuades parents to send children for secondary education regardless of their sex.

Achievements registered so far by AFOD include:

  • 36 teachers and 6 adolescent champions trained on adolescent reproductive health services
  • Over 1500 information, education and communication materials with messages on Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health (ASRH) distributed in schools
  • 16 Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health (ASRH) school clubs have been established to support adolescent’s and manage Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health (ASRH) challenges, schools have specific time table for them to do their activities guided by the teachers and supervised by AFOD staff.
  • 22,000 adolescents have been reached with information on adolescent sexual reproductive health through health talks. This has resulted in a drastic reduction in teenage pregnancy and marriage, high improvement   academic performance in PLE among girls. In Oyuwi P/S alone, 7 out of 12 girls who dropped out of school due to teenage pregnancy returned to school and completed PLE.

Anzoa is 15 years old. Like many girls in Adjumani district, her parents wanted to marry her off at a young age to a 40-year older man in exchange for kasurube – ‘a local term used to mean dowry’. She immediately reported this matter to her senior woman teacher who contacted AFOD to come to the rescue of this young girl, through having dialogue meetings with her parents, she joined secondary, Anzoa remarked,

“I have gained knowledge that has inspired me to gain greater control of my life and plan for my future, I have learnt the importance of staying in school and avoiding the pitfall of early marriage, thanks to AFOD – Uganda”

Through AFODs intervention, Anzoa is now back to school and is continuously receiving guidance and counselling from AFOD staff to enable her complete her education.

Parents attention to children’s’ education has increased for instance parent now frequently invite AFOD staff to talk to children about values of education

Many adolescents were also not accessing reproductive health services, however Health facilities have now reported increased in Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health (ASRH) service uptake by the pupils during school days, as such cases of STI infections are reducing among adolescents