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Empowering the South Sudan Refugee adolescents in the west Nile region camps of Uganda through gender sensitisation and advocacy

Gulu University students' guild aims to use sexual and reproductive health education to eradicate stigma, forced and early marriages.

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What specific problem(s) are you trying to address?

The adolescents in the refugee camps face the following problems: early pregnancies due to the very compacted settlements, sexual harassment especially the young girls, stigma for young girls in menstruation periods and those infected with HIV and other STDs, inadequate access to reproductive health education and services, inadequate access to sexual education and age transitory awareness as most of the adolescents in these camps are orphans with no one to give them the primary gender education assistance, high levels of spread of HIV/AIDS due to the very high population in the area and the lack of adequate sensitisation about the control and prevention of the diseases

What are some of your unanswered questions about the problem(s) you are working to address?

We are not yet certain about the actual size of our target population of the refugees since many of them keep on coming into the country everyday.

Explain Your Idea

The program for providing sensitisation services was primarily prompted by the fact that most of the people in the refugee camps are teenagers who are susceptible to sexual mistreatments of all sorts and are ignorant about health matters since most of them are in active growth transitions. These problems however can also be due to lack of knowledge about their rights as regards sexual life. We therefore intend to provide free sensitisation services about health especially to the teenagers, create awareness about their rights and finally develop a strong advocacy network which can support to uphold the tights of these teenagers in the communities they live as far as sexuality and sexual life is concerned.

Name the three most important ways that your idea will address your identified problem(s).

our solution will impact the adolescents in the refugee camps through: Freely availing the required sexual and reproductive education to the people; Advocacy for the rights of the people in the camps to have access to the different sexual and reproductive health services without any form of discrimination based on age, tribe, religion, nationality, sex and any other grounds; Empowering the young adolescent girls to equally take part in the social, political and economic affairs of their communities like their male counterparts.

How is your idea unique?

Our involvement in the empowering of the South Sudan Refugee adolescents in the camps in the Wet Nile region of Uganda will be unique in that it will be based on active community participation of all the people in the camps through using local sensitisation meetings perfectly fitted in the social and cultural ways of living of the people in the area. This is a unique approach because the literate people in the camps will be part recruited as part of our staff so that the education can be effectively carried out to as far as the use of the South Sudan local languages. The use of the native camp in-dwellers will also encourage the people to attend and feel free to interact with our staff during the sensitisation sessions. The literate camp in-dwellers who will be recruited will be peer educators and men will handle the young boy adolescents while the women will handle the girls.

What are some outstanding concerns or questions that you have regarding your idea?

Our oustanding concern is about the way of life of the adolescents especially the orphans in high density population refugee camps since most of the organisations working there are only focused about provision of food, and even the few who are offering reproductive and sexual education are inefficient since the number of people in the camps increase every day.

Who are your end users?

Our end users of the reproductive and sexual education sensitisation programme will be the young refugee population within the adolescent stage, whether married or not. These people will benefit in a way that they will gain knowledge about their sexual and reproductive life so that they know how to care for themselves well in order to encourage healthy adolescent population in the refugee camps. We also intend to collaborate with reproductive health service providers to ensure that the people in the refugee camps get access to the reproductive health services.

Where will your idea be implemented?

  • Uganda

What is the primary type of emergency setting where your innovation would operate?

  • Armed conflict
  • Prolonged displacement

Tell us more about the emergency setting that you intend to implement in

we intend to provide a comprehensive free sensitisation platform for all the people in the camps pertaining their sexual and reproductive health and the sexual rights. The result of this shall then be the creation of a society based team of advocacy to ensure the sustainable well being of the people in the camps and in the surrounding communities. this will however take a little some reasonable amount of time since the people must first of all be arranged into stable learning groups.

What is your organization's name?

Gulu University Ministry of Gender and women affairs

Tell us more about you.

We are a group of University based student leaders who in collaboration with the interested partners have always arranged and conducted sessions of community transformation especially pertaining gender, health and social well-being. For example the most recently concluded campaign of fighting against domestic violence. We have also conducted health camps in the past for example provision of free counseling, testing and vaccination services to the community around against Hepatitis B, HIV/AIDS, and meningitis at the university to the local people and the students in conjunction with the ministry of health and Gulu district local government. We have also held other various community sensitisation programes like radio talk shows.

Organizational Characteristics

  • Youth-led organization
  • Displaced person / refugee-led organization

What is the current scale of your proposed innovation?

  • Community - 1+ communities within 1 country

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

Expertise in Sector

  • Yes, for more than a year.

Organization Location

Gulu University in the Northern Region of Uganda, in East Africa

What is your organizational status?

  • Part of a government entity.

What is the maturity of your innovation?

  • Early Stage Innovation: exploring my innovation, refining, researching, and gathering inspiration.



Join the conversation:

Photo of Ashley Tillman

Hi TENYWA DERICK KAWANGUZI I would love to learn a little more about the partners you've worked with on some of your past projects and what you've learned from some of your past health camps that you'd bring forward into this work?


The experience I have got is that most of the local people do not give a lot of attention to health concerns because they lack knowledge about the presence, effects, transmission and prevention or control of many of the very dangerous diseases. They also have a belief that there will always be a governmental or any organisational program to sensitise them and provide free treatment in case a dangerous health concern arises.
And even though the services have been availed, most people have not received and embraced them due to either lack of awareness about their availability or, most of the service delivery points are so far away from the rural residences.
The services offered especially by the government are inadequate and do not serve the entire population of target and to counter this, some people who have money go for private treatments but since most people are poor, this option is inefficient.
Therefore we would like to ensure maximum sensitisation to create awareness and develop an advocacy network to ensure maximum service provision and perpetuate active participation by the local people.
We have worked with partners like local governments, religious leaderships, ministry of health (regional hospitals) and some NGOs which provide free medical services.

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