Human Rights activists want the government to fix a guideline on sexuality for young people who are out of school. The development comes at a time when the government is moving to introduce sexuality education in schools.
However, rights activists believe this will leave behind young people who are not currently in school.
According to Allan Nsubuga, an official from Civil Society Organization Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), while young people in school may get hints on sexuality through their science subjects or senior women teachers, there’s no guide whatsoever for their age mates that don’t go to school.
He noted that the bigger danger in this is that while the government cannot answer the question of who is currently providing sexuality education to these groups, individuals and groups in communities including some NGOs are providing information that hasn’t been necessarily sieved for suitability.
“No one knows if they are doing the right thing, coming out clear on what proper sexuality education would save the country from the crisis of teenage pregnancies that effects of the COVID-19 pandemic just made worse and the high prevalence of HIV among adolescent girls and young women,” said Nsubuga.
He further argues that if they are to reach many and achieve their target, the government has to carefully select how the information will be delivered considering the dynamics of access including challenges of internet connectivity and reading abilities.
Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development which is spearheading this initiative says they are already in plans to train key community leaders including Local Council leaders who will, in turn, be in charge of delivering sexuality education.
According to Patience Namanya the Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Coordinator at the Ministry of Gender, to guarantee that they will deliver an inclusive guiding framework, they have since 2018 been engaging different groups including cultural leaders, religious leaders, and health workers among others to brainstorm on what will most address the needs of young people.
She adds that they are planning to cater to young people aged 10 to 24 years and that in addition to involving community leaders, they want to integrate sexuality education in already existing programmes such as the youth livelihood programme that is currently attracting numbers of rural youth. Among the key areas of study for older children is equipping them with parenting skills.