Uganda

In Uganda, we scale up proven models of care while continuously innovating to aggressively address emerging gaps. Delivering integrated services to more than 15,000 families and over 100,000 children and youth across 38 districts in Uganda, we are closing the gaps in the prevention and response to violence, HIV, and other vulnerabilities facing children and families.

Adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) are three times as likely to be HIV+ as their peers who are the same age. Uganda’s recent Violence Against Children (VAC) study showed that 52% of 18-24-year-old young women had experienced sexual abuse before age 18—38% of which occurred in the respondents’ homes. On average, 30% of adolescent girls enrolled in our Uganda programming are also young mothers. Through core DREAMS programming, we have reached 14,000 AGYW with layered economic strengthening and HIV/gender-based violence (GBV) prevention services. Our in- and out-of-school youth programming in Uganda has equipped more than 10,000 adolescents and young women and men with integrated HIV and GBV prevention services. Through an HIV-sensitive case management approach, we have screened more than 14,000 orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) for HIV risk and have referred more than 2,500 children at risk for HIV for follow-up HIV testing services (HTS) support.

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We use a range of household economic strengthening strategies to address the underlying causes of poverty and to build family resiliency. Our household approach engages the whole family using economic strengthening approaches to improve family cooperation and communication that contribute to strengthening the protection of children at the household level. Our youth Savings and Investment Club model (SAIC) inculcates a saving culture in youth while building their leadership and financial literacy.

We have supported more than 12,000 households with economic strengthening services, including project-supported village savings and loan associations (VSLAs), financial literacy education, livelihoods support, and linkages to agribusiness actors across Uganda’s robust agriculture value chain. We have also equipped more than 4,200 out-of-school adolescents with life skills, work-readiness skills, and livelihoods skills to find decent work, 80% of whom are earning money from decent work. Under our youth Savings and Investment Club model, more than 97% of adolescent youth in SAICs are actively saving each month.

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Our programming in Uganda addresses the needs of in- and out-of-school youth using an integrated approach that helps youth to understand their roles and responsibilities, protect themselves and report violence, and follow up with communities and families to address violence and protection issues. We work with more than 5,000 in-school children, youth, and their families too by engaging youth, teachers, caregivers, and communities to address all forms of violence and to enhance safety in schools and communities. Social norms change approaches layered onto programming help to create positive shifts in children, teachers, caregivers, and communities to address the underlying driver of violence against children – including sexual violence and teen pregnancy. Children, teachers, and communities are also engaged in strengthening prevention and response systems through linkages with trained para-social workers to follow up on protection cases and to work side-by-side local government protection and social welfare officers to address and close cases.

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Uganda’s recent Violence Against Children (VAC) study showed that 52% of 18-24-year-old young women had experienced sexual abuse before the age of 18 – 38% of which occurred in the respondents’ homes. 68% of young men 18-24 years old reported experiencing physical violence during their childhood. Social protection programming helps to address a range of issues to improve family resiliency.

Our parenting program helps to strengthen family resilience by helping families to improve communication, mutual respect, and skills in family budgeting and resolving conflicts peacefully. Our proven case management model supports more than 15,000 families and 90,000 children with a range of integrated supports that prevent and respond to HIV and violence. Our innovative Closed User Group (CUG) phone network links together children and families with trained para-social workers, social service, and health providers, and formal district protection actors to address protection issues. This innovation complements the national Uganda Child Helpline and ensures that children have access to HIV services, treatment, and follow-up care and support.

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By The Numbers

140,000 children and families reached through various programs across 38 districts in Uganda
100,000 critical vulnerable and HIV+ children and their caregivers through BETTER OUTCOMES
15,031 adolescent girls and young women supported in four high HIV prevalence districts in northern Uganda through the DREAMS component of BETTER OUTCOMES

Success Story

Rose is an 18-year-old girl currently living with her 14 month-old baby and her mother in Alibi, a village in Loro sub-county of Oyam District in Uganda. When Rose was a child and finished primary school, she was accepted and enrolled in secondary school. However, Rose never had the opportunity to progress to secondary school, because her father, an angry and desperate man who was often very rude to her mother, refused to pay her school fees. Rose’s father ultimately left the family for another woman and moved to another village.

Rose recalled, “After all that, I was so bored and lonely at home. I had no one to talk to except one boy who would come and chat with me. We had dated while I was in school, but we never had sex. After all this, I needed a shoulder to lean on. So, I accepted having sex with him. He never told me to go back to school. He did not even care.” When she was nearly 16 years-old, Rose got pregnant. After she told her boyfriend, he disappeared, leaving her solely responsible to raise their child. However, things began to change for Rose when, in March of 2016, BETTER OUTCOMES-trained para-social workers (PSWs) told her about Girls First Clubs during a community sensitization session.

To continue reading about Rose, check out our blog.

Testimonials

Joining the Adolescent Youth Empowerment Development Initiative (AYEDI) club was a turning point for me. [They] emphasized how to work as a team and have friends. Before joining, I viewed everyone as a threat, especially the men. I learned how to interact with others and work together. I have not had to go back to working bars and lodges. I now have the patience for achieving my goals.

Caregivers happy girl
AYEDI beneficiary