Youth Encouragement Project

Young people in Uganda, especially in remote areas, often face difficulties in accessing sexual and reproductive health services. To improve both the accessibility and quality of SRH (Sexual Reproductive Health) services for young people in Uganda, Rutgers started the Youth Encouragement Project (YEP).

LocationUganda
ObjectiveTo increase the uptake of contraception and SRH serices among people in remote areas
Target groupYoung people (10-24 years old)
Length of programme2017-2020
Partner organisationReproductive Health Uganda (RHU)

Breaking the taboo 

In this programme young people learn about respect, equality, rights, safe sex and family planning. As a result, we improve young people’s knowledge and understanding of sexuality and SRHR. Also we are able to address underlying harmful norms and taboos surrounding gender and sexuality. 

Uptake of contraception and SRH services

The main issues that young people have are unwanted and teenage pregnancies, unsafe abortions, maternal death and disability, sexually transmitted infections, HIV & AIDS and gender-based violence. Poverty, norms and values that enforce gender inequality, and the taboo to discuss sexuality, together with a weak performing health system, are all underlying structural causes to poor SRHR. Due to the lack of access to information and services young people often struggle to make choices concerning their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). 

Mobile outreaches in remote areas

With YEP we provide mobile outreach services that are specifically designed for remote areas and target young people. We make use of temporary mobile service facility like a tent or van. SRHR professionals, trained service providers and peer educators go to rural areas and spend several days in providing information. They conduct youth friendly services through awareness raising on sexual and reproductive health and right issues.. 

Peer educators

For the sustainability of these ‘mobile outreach events’ it is crucial to involve young people and to put them in the driver seat. Therefore these events are attractive for young people to go to and are partly done by young people. Peer educators facilitate interactive discussion in the so-called ‘table talks’ and ‘intergenerational dialogues’ to talk openly about sexuality and health issues. The peer educators also go from door to door to encourage young people them to visit the activities and use the facilities. Many young people do not just make decisions on what they know, but are also guided by the opinions and actions of their close, trusted peers. Peer providers can communicate with young people in ways the best-intentioned adults cannot and thus, they serve as effective role models. 

“I am proud being a peer educator.” 

 
Taweka Joyce
Peer educator

Innovation

An innovative strategy of the YEP project to increase the utilization of SRH services by young people is focusing on social accountability. This involves young people and communities in quality monitoring of health services and dialogue for improvement. This component is integrated with a result-based bonus system, to encourage health service providers to further improve SRH services provision for young people.

Photo gallery

Also have a look at the beautiful pictures made in Uganda. 

YEP phase 2

YEP was first implemented in 2013 in the Iganga District. Then YEP was extended  to the Apac District in Uganda, which resulted in the Youth Encouragement Project Phase 2 (YEP2), running from 2017 till 2020. Due to the successful implementation and the evidence collected in YEP, we scaled-up the YEP model to Mbarara district in Uganda and Machinga in Malawi (The U-Decide project).

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