SHIP - Sexual Health Improvement Project

SHIP - Sexual Health Improvement Project

Uganda
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The vision of the Sexual Health Improvement Project is a society of healthy young people empowered to make informed and responsible decisions regarding their sexuality.

In order to address the sexual health needs of young people, the Sexual Health Improvement Project (SHIP)primarily trains volunteer sexual health educators from within communities, attaches teams to secondary schools and facilitates them to conduct Sexual Health Education sessions once every two weeks during the school term.

The project also emphasizes topics on HIV/AIDS, decision making among adolescents, self esteem, gender stereotypes and danger signs in relationships in order to ensure that sexual health is comprehensively covered and cases of school dropout due to pregnancy and lack of focus are reduced.

About Project

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

In spite of efforts by the Government of Uganda to promote universal primary and secondary education, the country is still experiencing serious challenges in retaining children in school at both levels. Although efforts are being made at addressing economic and educational system causes of dropouts, social and cultural causes such as refusal by children due to apathy, early pregnancy and marriages are not being effectively addressed. In one of the schools in which SHIP is implementing, 20 students dropped out due to pregnancy in the year 2009 alone. Although the school curriculum in Uganda somewhat incorporates sexual health, there are glaring knowledge and attitude gaps because culturally, issues of sexuality are not freely discussed and teachers lack the skills to teach these intimate issues to their students.There are no interventions by NGOs in the district.The SHIP project is innovative in both its approach and delivery in the following aspects; i. Use of interactive games by resource persons from outside the school environment that enables young people to talk openly and candidly thus reducing stigma, fostering understanding and breaking cultural inhibitions on sexuality. ii. Use of volunteer community resource persons as sexual health educators creating a multiplier effect in a sustainable, yet cost effective way.iii. Emphasis on issues of self esteem and gender stereotypes to promote discussion of cultural aspects that inhibit development. iv.Linking young people to service providers to address identified need thus bridging the gap between knowledge and action.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

i. Provision of Sexual Health Education and mentoring to young people using culturally sensitive and interactive methods. ii. Capacity Building of sexual health educators as community resource persons iii. Developing teams of committed volunteer sexual health educators to respond to the sexual and reproductive health needs of young people in their communities. iv)Linking technocrats and service providers to schools to address students' needs identified during sexual health education sessions. v)Working with radio stations and technocrats in the community to answer questions that the Sexual Health educators cannot ably handle and give information to parents and young people out of school.
About You
Organization:
POPULATION SECRETARIAT
About You
First Name

stella

Last Name

kigozi

Twitter
About Your Organization
Organization Name

POPULATION SECRETARIAT

Organization Phone

256-414-705400

Organization Address

P.O.BOX 2666

Organization Country

, KMP

Country where this project is creating social impact

, RUK

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

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Innovation
What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Tell us about the community that you engage? eg. economic conditions, political structures, norms and values, demographic trends, history, and experience with engagement efforts.

Nearly one half, of Uganda's present population of 31 million is comprised of those under 15 years of age. Specifically, adolescents, defined as those 10-19 years of age, comprise 24% of the total population. In Uganda, 25% of all adolescents between 15 and 19 years of age will have had their first sexual experience by the age of 15. These early sexual experiences are especially a concern for young adolescent women as many of them are coerced.These sexual experiences often result in either early childbearing or unsafe abortions.They also expose young people to the risk of acquiring HIV. The prevalence for STD's and HIV is also high among Ugandan adolescents. It is estimated that youth comprise 50% of those infected with HIV. Again, young girls are particularly at risk for STD's and HIV as many trade sex for material needs.

Safer sex practices and contraceptive use are not universal among the adolescent population of Uganda for a variety of reasons. Many adolescents cite the unavailability of services, various myths about contraceptive methods, and lack of control as reasons why they are unable or unwilling to practice safer sex or use modern contraceptive methods.Rukungiri District has a population of 316,000 with the majority of the population engaged in Agriculture. The HIV prevalence rate of the district is 7% which is higher than the national average of 6.4%. According to secondary school headteachers, the school dropout rate is very high especially for girls and these are largely attributed to pregnancy and a desire to get married. The district is largely rural and traditional norms and values especially those which place women in positions of cultural, social and economic vulnerability are still largely upheld.Although the district is not among the poorest in Uganda, it has four rural sub counties (Bwambara, Bugangari, Nyarushanje and Nyakishenyi) whose populations are very vulnerable to food insecurity and poverty. There are elected political leaders at all levels of political administration with four Members of Parliament( 3 for constituencies and 1 district woman MP), an elected District Chairman with elected councilors at district and sub county levels. There are also technocrats at the district headed by a Chief Administrative Officer who is the accounting officer of the district. SHIP works with both technical officers and political leaders to mobilize trainees, select schools in which to intervene and follow up issues identified by sexual health educators during their sessions. The Project is greatly appreciated by the district leadership especially because it addresses pertinent social issues but also because it is the only intervention in this field that they have had in the last 5 years.The political leaders have pledged to support the project with free radio airtime for example, and the technical officers have pledged to avail themselves to address issues that our Sexual Health Educators are not able to address. We also work closely with St. Karoli Lwanga Hospital Nursing school Nyakibale to recruit trainees for the project as well as resource persons to answer questions that are of a technical nature in the medical field. Most of the people trained as Sexual Health Educators are either health workers or teachers. They therefore add value to the schools from which they are recruited as they have been assigned new roles following the training. In case of teachers, under the SHIP model they are deployed in schools other than those in which they are employed because their own students may not freely talk about intimate issues in their presence. There are very big challenges with transport in the district and public vehicles do not reach most of the schools in which we implement. As such, the Sexual Health Educators have to take motor cycles(boda boda) to reach their schools to conduct sessions, otherwise the mobile telephone network is very effective and makes mobilization and coordination of teams a lot easier. The big challenge for the project now is to mobilize a modest transport allowance to facilitate the Sexual Health educators to do their work consistently throughout the year. This would ease planning and make it easier for them to secure permission from their employers and also enable headteachers to plan for the sessions way ahead of time. Headteachers reported that they have already started observing higher levels of assertiveness and discipline among the students who have had attended SHIP sessions.

Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project

The Sexual Health Improvement Project(SHIP) was conceived after a training in Israel on Sexual Health and HIV prevention for adolescents in 2007. The trainees from Uganda returned home and developed a proposal on how to use the skills they had acquired to make a contribution to addressing the sexual health challenges of young people.

Each of the three SHIP founders has a need to protect young people. The chairperson of the project lost her childhood friend to AIDS at the age of 28. This friend got pregnant at the age of 14 and dropped out of school.Because of poverty and the weak social safety nets, she was not able to go back to school after having the baby. She had to find means of feeding her child since her parents also hardly had enough to feed themselves and their six children. Unfortunately, she resorted to having relationships with one older man after the other who could give her financial assistance. The habit grew and that defined who she was in the community.Pleas for behavior change fell on deaf ears even when a good Samaritan had taken on the responsibility of fully looking after her child. It became apparent that she had acquired HIV from one of her several partners and did not see any reason to change her behavior. It was a very painful thing to see what had happened to a friend.Other young lives are destroyed daily under similar circumstances because of lack of information, powerlessness and people to encourage them to make responsible decisions.This is the root of the passion with which the SHIP team is steering this project.

Social Impact
Please describe how your project has been successful and how that success is measured

Feedback from the schools and communities in which the initiative on sexual health education has been implemented indicate a change in knowledge and attitudes amongst young people that were reached by the Sexual Health Educators(SHEs). Benefits of the training have also been recorded amongst young people, parents, teachers and the entire community.

According to community leaders and head teachers who present periodic reports to the SHIP team the young people have acquired knowledge and skills on reproductive health, dealing with sexuality and sexuality issues, HIV / AIDS, decision making for young people and have been able to make informed decisions and be assertive with regard to their sexual health. One of the most striking successes is the decrease in the number of teenage pregnancies in one school that was specifically targeted for sexual health education.

Success is measured through quarterly feedback and reports provided by Sexual Health Educators on their interventions in the community and schools that they are attached to by the project.

How many people have been impacted by your project?

101-1,000

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Capacity Building of 120 Sexual Health Educators who will be attached to community centers, health centers and schools to share skills and knowledge on sexual health education to young people.

Task 1

1. Capacity Building of Sexual Health Educators.

Task 2

2. Attachment of Sexual Health Educators to selected community centers and schools.

Task 3

3. Sexual Health Education in schools and centers.

Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Task 1
Task 2
Task 3
How will your project evolve over the next three years?
Sustainability
What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

The roll out up of the project will require a substantial amount of support and funding. But it is envisaged that the subsequent years of the project will be self sustaining. The project will select and train health educators who are self motivated and committed to work with minimum financial support by the project.

Recruitment from within organizations that also have a stake in sexual health education of young people will also help to ensure that SHEs are facilitated by the organizations to which they are affiliated.

Tell us about your partnerships

The project works in partnerships with organizations and institutions with interest and stake in the promotion of better quality of life of young people with particular reference to achieving SHIP goals and objectives. These include government institutions, line ministries like Ministry of Education, Ministry of health and Ministry of Finance and bilateral agencies, NGOs, corporate bodies, and other well wishers.

Implementation of the activity is also done in collaboration with district local governments and sub county authorities.

Explain your selections

The project is housed in the Population Secretariat which is a semi-autonomous government institution under the minstry of finance, planning and economic development. The secretariat provides office space, furniture, and staff time and expertise of trained experts.

The project has also been generously supported by the Government of Israel who provided three technical experts from Israel to conduct the trainings of Sexual Health educators in Uganda using the Israel model of sexual health education.

How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?

1. Roll out of the project to different regions of the country to scale up the intervention.

2. Advocate for incorporation of SHIP module in formal curriculum for health education.

3. Integrate SHIP model in district development plan.

Challenges
Which barriers to health and well-being does your innovation address?
Please select up to three in order of relevancy to your project.

PRIMARY

Lack of access to targeted health information and education

SECONDARY

Health behavior change

TERTIARY

Restrictive cultural norms

Please describe how your innovation specifically tackles the barriers listed above.

The project is aimed at the provision of sexual health education using culturally sensitive approaches to bring about a change in behaviour and attitudes of young people in regards to their sexuality.

How are you growing the impact of your organization or initiative?
Please select up to three potential pathways in order of relevancy to you.

PRIMARY

Influenced other organizations and institutions through the spread of best practices

SECONDARY

Repurposed your model for other sectors/development needs

TERTIARY

Please describe which of your growth activities are current or planned for the immediate future.

The spread of best practices is an activity closely intertwined with the training and education of sexual health educators who are encouraged to go out in the community and provide knowledge and skills on sexual and reproductive health.

The project plans to roll out to different regions and districts of Uganda very soon.

Do you collaborate with any of the following: (Check all that apply)

Government.

If yes, how have these collaborations helped your innovation to succeed?

The Government of Uganda ignited the flame that led to the creation of this project. Through the Population Secretariat (POPSEC), three officers were sent to study a course on sexual health education in Israel. The officers conceptualized the project after the course. since then POPSEC has provided office space, time, equipment and funding to support the training of two sets of sexual health educators in Rukungiri district.