Young people represent an important resource for change in their countries and communities. These young people are the parents and leaders of tomorrow. However, many of them are not able to realise their great potentials and face a life in poverty due to various challenges which often are particularly related to their sexual and reproductive health: Young people are especially vulnerable to unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortion and HIV&AIDS. They often lack appropriate information and skills to avoid unprotected sex and to be aware of HIV&AIDS prevention. At the same time, lack of economic security and livelihoods opportunities among this young age group underpins risky behaviours.
In order to empower young people between 10 and 24 years in Uganda, DSW (Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung) developed the Youth-to-Youth Initiative. Key to the Youth-to-Youth Initiative in Uganda are nearly seventy youth clubs and Youth Empowerment Centres , which serve as a social platform and means to empower young people to make informed decisions and to become active change agents within their communities.
How does the Youth-to-Youth Initiative work in practice?
Equipping young people with knowledge as well as leadership and life skills:
Youth club members participate in peer education, family planning, life skills, club management and leadership trainings. The acquired knowledge and skills help them to successfully manage their clubs and to provide quality youth-friendly information to their peers.
Creating community support for young people’s needs:
Youth clubs engage in community outreach activities designed to raise awareness, change attitudes and strengthen community life. These activities include youth-led edutainment (music, drama, dance) shows, environmental work and community services as well as community dialogue and advocacy meetings targeting local decision-makers and community members.
Strengthening youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services:
Trained peer educators (often supported by professional health workers) distribute condoms, offer individual counselling services, including HIV-testing or home-based care, and inform young people about family planning and contraceptives. Moreover, youth clubs cooperate with nearby health stations and refer young people for respective treatment.
Enhancing the social and economic development of young people:
Trainings provided to young people on entrepreneurship skills enable them to develop, set up and maintain their own small businesses. Club members learn how to sustain youth club activities in a sustainable way and how to secure small loans or establish internal saving systems.
The Youth-to-Youth Initiative has enabled young people in Uganda to take full advantage of their potential, motivation, and innovative energy.
A big thank you to Golf for Charity for supporting this project in Uganda (https://www.betterplace.org/de/fundraising-events/we-play-golf-for-charity).