Advocacy Country Spotlight: Uganda
Issue: Adolescent and youth participation has become increasingly recognized as key to decision-making across ministries, government departments and CSOs charged with developing national policies related to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). However, Uganda’s SRHR policy environment presented increasing opposition to adolescent SRHR. As policymakers developed and revised the National Adolescent Health Policy, the 2015 – 2020 National Strategy to End Child Marriages and Teenage Pregnancy, the National Framework on Sexuality Education, and new commitments for the 2017 London Family Planning Summit, it became imperative to incorporate youth voices into the decision-making process.
Action: To inform decision-makers and other stakeholders, the Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum (UYAHF) advocated for the importance of training and supporting service providers to offer non-judgmental information and services to adolescents; enforcing confidentiality and ensuring audio and visual privacy; offering a wide range of contraceptive methods including LARCs; and providing free or subsidized services for youth. UYAHF additionally compiled research from the National Drug Authority and National Medical Stores to inform the Adolescent Health Financing policy brief. Funding for this project was provided by the FP2020 Rapid Response Mechanism.
Impact: UYAHF’s project facilitated open and honest conversation on establishing a supportive policy environment for increasing demand and access to adolescent contraception and SRHR, with an emphasis on advancing youth rights. Such conversations were crucial to the review of the National Adolescent Health Policy, the SRHR Guidelines and Service Standards and the recently approved National Framework for Sexuality Education. Furthermore, the Ministry of Education has incorporated young people into the inter-ministerial technical committee on scaling up access to SRHR services and sex education.