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Nothing for refugees without refugees.

Makerere University Refugee Students' Association aims at giving back skills obtained to our fellow refugees in Nakivale refugee settlement.

Photo of DeletedUser
23 11

Written by DeletedUser

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

Uganda having the best refugee policy in Africa, it attracts more refugees from the neighborhood.Approximately 2 million refugees are hosted in Uganda of which more than 60% are women and children. However much development partners have done a lot in promotion of sexual and reproductive health,less has been done in engaging young refugees especially girls in their campaigns. This has left the girls marginalized and with no say on the level of acquisition of SRH commodities.

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

Many development partners have put up campaigns aiming at promotion of the SRH of the young girls in the settlements.But to a bigger extent,almost negligible involve the young girls in the championing,distribution of SRH services and information. Secondly,even for those who try involving the young girls, the way of information and service delivery is not youth friendly. Thirdly,the SRH services meant to be for adolescent girls end up in bad hands since there is no monitoring by consumers.

Explain Your Idea

Following up our principle,Nothing For Refugees Without Refugees,For Youth Without Youth,we use both ICT and non ICT practices to fulfill our motives. MURSA partners with likeminded SRH service providers like Ministry of Health, Reproductive Health Uganda,Uganda Health Marketing Group to deliver SRH commodities in a youth friendly way; 1. MURSA nominates likeminded youth in the refugee settlements who act as custodians for the non clinical SRH commodities like condoms. 2.The non clinical commodities obtained from our partners especially Ministry Of Health are delivered to the custodians on a fortnight basis where fellow young girls can pick them from. 3. For the clinical commodities eg HIV testing,emergency contraceptives,we hold monthly mobile SRH camps(village to village)where adolescents are given these services free of charge 4.For those who want advice, we carry out online counselling where an adolescent can send us a question in SMS form through a champion or directly to us and we answer within 24 hours.

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

MURSA bridges the gap between SRH service providers and adolescents through ICT methods like free SMS. Through this service,female adolescents in the settlements can at any time ask questions about their reproductive health and receive helpful answers within 24 hours. We have seen the tremendous change this idea has caused in ending unwanted pregnancies in the refugee settlements since 2015 and MURSA believes that the more it involves young girls as champions and depots for the SRH commodities,there will be increased use of these commodities like condoms and emergency contraceptives. With the innovation of using local musicians in our village health camps,attention of the youth is called and increases the uptake of SRH commodities.

How is your idea unique?

This idea,unlike most of the ideas in Uganda engineered and implemented by old non refugee stakeholders, has been engineered,developed,piloted and soon to be tested by the young refugees who got a chance to be in Makerere University studying medicine.This makes the engineers at the center of knowledge of exactly what is stopping youth and young girls from acquiring proper SRH services and information. Secondly,the idea is implemented by almost graduates who have acquired almost all the required skill in human medicine and health.

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

Being refugees and young,we tend to find challenge in convincing the so called elders. Secondly,some of the family members have consistently thought that their young girls being custodians of these commodities is morally spoiling them.

Who are your end users?

Approximately 20,000 Female adolescents(10-19 years) in Nakivale Refugee settlement are our direct beneficiaries.They will be more actively involved in SRH service delivery as champions and also as consumers of the SRH commodities like condoms and emergency contraceptives.The indirect beneficiaries are the parents in these settlements who are more than 15,000.The parents will benefit from the fact that their daughters will not get pregnant or acquire sexually transmitted infections.

Where will your idea be implemented?

  • Uganda

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

  • Armed conflict

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

Nakivale Refugee Settlement is a home of various types of refugees but mostly constitutes refugees from Rwanda who came during the genocide,refugees from Congo who came due the Ntaganda war,refugees from Burundi who came during the post election violence among others.It is the biggest refugee settlement with the biggest number of refugees with mixed nationalities and mixed cause of insurgency.

What is your organization's name?

Makerere University Refugee Students' Association (MURSA).

Tell us more about you.

Makerere University Refugee Students' Association is an organisation started by a group of young girls aged between 18 and 22 from refugee settlements who came up after facing alot of barriers while still in the settlement and decided to give back to our fellow young girls in various settlements on the medical skills gotten through Makerere University.

Organizational Characteristics

  • 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

Makerere University ,College of Health Sciences, School of Medicine. Kampala Uganda

What is your organizational status?

  • Not formally registered but are a formal initiative through a school / university.

What is the maturity of your innovation?

  • Existing Prototype or Pilot: Tested a part of my solution with users and am iterating.

23 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Pierre Kukundakwe
Team

Merci MURSA. Vous nous avez permis d'acquérir facilement ces préservatifs sans crainte d'être jugés par nos aînés à Olukinga. Cela a réduit les grossesses non désirées et le VIH. Nous apprécions votre travail.

Photo of Ashley Tillman
Team

Hi @DeletedUser great to have you in the Challenge! Would love to learn a little more about your organization and team. What kind of projects have you worked on in the past? What results did you see and what did you learn from things that didn't work?

Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Hello Ashley, MURSA is looking at providing better sexual and reproductive health services to adolescents especially girls in the refugees settlements especially Nakivale and Lwamwanja refugee settlements and involving them actively in these services as champions.The organisation is led by young female students from Makerere University College of Health Sciences offering bachelor of medicine and surgery.These students hail from refugee settlements.
MURSA's goal; To have a model of adolescent refugees(girls) which enables them to advocate and be recognized and empowered as active equal partners in designing and implementation of SRH projects in the refugee settlements.
Vision;All young refugee adolescents are free to make choices about their sexuality and well being without discrimination.
Mission;To lead a young refugee owned,globally connected civil society movement that provides and enables services and champions SRH and rights for all young refugees.
Objectives;Using an all inclusive approach that doesn't discriminate against one on the basis of the country they originated from,MURSA aims are;
1.To provide a forum and set mechanisms for young and adolescent refugees to express themselves as active participants and decision makers irrespective of their sexual orientation and where they originate from.
2.To build leadership capacities among young people in the refugee settlements in Uganda.
3.To promote equal partnership between young refugees and adults in all refugee settlements in Uganda.
4.To have a strong network of young and adolescent refugees that can easily be mobilized to accelerate SRH agendas in the refugee settlements.
MURSA has set up sexual and reproductive health camps in various villages on a monthly basis;carrying out free HIV,HPV and syphilis screening for the adolescent refugees,offering counselling services on sexual and reproductive health issues,providing free contraceptives to the adolescent refugees.During these camps,the adolescents nominate champions through whom they obtain non clinical SRH commodities like emergency contraceptives.The results were positive and very encouraging. Approximately 3000 adolescent refugees have been reached in Nakivale,4000 in Olukinga and 2000 in Lwamawanja. In these camps, 6000 adolescent refugees have been screened for HIV and 3000 have acquired SRH commodities.These adolescent refugees are now more aware and informed about their sexual and reproductive health and are even more open about the challenges they face as young adolescents because there is someone(MURSA) to hear them out and provide possible solutions to their SRH challenges.We have seen 200 young refugees being active participants as champions and volunteers during the camps.The adolescents are more open to their champions in the refugee settlements who are their age mates and therefore are very familiar with the challenges they face.We have observed that even non refugee youth want to be part of the camps organized in the settlements.The civil society organisations use our data and documentation while pursuing their work in the refugee settlements.We have seen several institutions advocate for SRH services using our technique of involving the youth.
The challenges we have faced are;
One of the biggest problems in providing SRH information and services for the adolescent young refugees is lack of documentation of lessons and best practices.Documentation is not only essential for learning from experiences but also in determining the future course of youth programming and resource allocation.It is therefore imperative that mechanisms be put in place to ensure adequate documentation for example all available methods of information and data capture (reports,photos,audio and video recordings,training curricula etc).The information should easily be accessible.
Some non clinical commodities like condoms are not accounted for because the champions use them for personal gain by selling them yet they are meant to be free.Therefore,MURSA has realized the need to work with adolescent champions with frequent monitoring on how they do their work.
In addition, many parents in the refugee settlements are not comfortable with their children being custodians of these non clinical SRH commodities like condoms with worries of their children being labelled immoral.However,MURSA has realized the need to create awareness among the parents on the challenges their children are facing as they develop physically and emotionally.
It is from all this experience that MURSA is looking at engaging young and adolescent refugees(girls)in the engineering,designing,implementation,documentation,and monitoring of SRH services in Nakivale refugee settlement.Hence "Nothing For Refugees Without Refugees".

Photo of Japhet Aloyce Kalegeya
Team

This is a great idea aimed to solve the challenge faced refugees in Uganda. Can you add the picture?

Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Hello Japhet.The steering team of MURSA reflected at the top of this page are young refugees who are conversant with exactly what hinders the adolescent refugees in the settlement from acquiring SRH services and information.Therefore,MURSA is offering these adolescents SRH servces and information and also involving them as champions.

Photo of Japhet Aloyce Kalegeya
Team

Ok! Thank you

Photo of Maggie Ddibya
Team

This idea is a very creative one and am positive its impact will felt.Thank you so much MURSA for the work your doing.

Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

You are welcome

Photo of Jeanette Umutoni
Team

Thank you,MURSA for this idea.Am very positive it will benefit many more adolescent refugees just like it has helped us in Nakivale settlement.

Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

MURSA is very honored for the encouragement it has received from you,Jeanette.However,MURSA has now added free SMS whereby an adolescent in the settlement may send their queries to us through SMS through a champion in the settlement or directly to us and get a helpful reply within 24Hours.

Photo of Rutayisire Meddy
Team

great proposal

Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

thanks Meddy

Photo of Teddy Nalwanji
Team

Hello.Thanks so much for the great work you are doing for the adolescent refugees in the settlements. Great idea.

Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Teddy thanks for the applause.MURSA is still and will continue empowering the female adolescents in the refugee settlements by providing them with SRH services and information.

Photo of Agaba Peter
Team

Oh my dear friends i hope u are well i wish you all the best in your endeavors but i think it would be good to tell us more about your regular sexul and reproductive health camps done in Lwamwanja refugee settlement

Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Hello Peter.MURSA organises SRH health camps on a monthly basis.During these camps, we give teach and advice about SRH to adolescent refugees,They also participate in nominating champions through whom they will access the non clinical SRH commodities like condoms.

Photo of Agaba Peter
Team

Well done ,i saw one and i happy to let the world know may be it can help some with a person of doing what you guys are doing.
Wish you all the best but don't hesitate to send fellow refugee youth in muk to our clinic in kalerwe

Photo of Allan Walter
Team

Hey Shamim
Great ideas there but u need to include pictures to aid ur explanations. Wish u the best.

Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Thank you Allan.MURSA steering team put up a few visual demonstrations showing the adolescents that they can also study without any interruptions like unplanned pregnancies.

Photo of NAMATA PHIONAH
Team

Wow,this is a good idea for Nakivale and it is inspiring and efficient to other young female adolescents.Am glad you are doing the same good work you did for us in Olukinga.

Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Phionah thank you for your encouraging words and moral support.MURSA is improving the services by providing free SMS.

Photo of Eunice Kajala
Team

Where is your idea? It is not reflected in this page.

Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

HELLO.Our idea is currently reflected on the page.It is "Nothing for refugees without refugees." .We are a group of girls aged 18-22 who hail from refugee settlement and are using our skills acquired from the University to give back to our communities.