The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and related social-distancing measures have left Ugandan primary and secondary schools closed through at least September. This regrettably forced us to discontinue our school-based sexual and reproductive health education and outreach activities. But this hasn't stopped or even slowed our work!
Turn Up the Radio
To reach not only our students, but their families and communities as well, The Kasiisi Project staff have taken our messages to the Ugandan radio airwaves. We kicked off our health-related radio programs earlier this summer, and we'll continue until schools reopen. Our health educators Patrick and Shammy, along with the district health educator Catherine, have or will address topics related to personal hygiene, menstruation, COVID-19, puberty and teenage pregnancy.
So far, all of our radio programs have been well received, with a large number of enthusiastic and appreciative listeners calling in!
The New Senga
Our health team is putting the final touches on a Parent's Sexual and Reproductive Health Handbook. In Ugandan culture, discussions around sexuality occur only between a girl and her father's sister, a role known as a Senga. With disruptions in family structure brought about by the country's high fertility, this functional relationship has diminished, if not disappeared. Our hope is to start training parents to act as Sengas for their children, both girls and boys. Without the structure of school, children face increased risks, including teenage pregnancy, so the timing of this effort is critically important. To the best of our knowledge, this handbook will be the first of its kind produced for and distributed in rural western Uganda.
We're also working on online materials and downloadable, offline activities around sexual and reproductive health. With the efforts described above and these new tools, we hope to persist our messages and strengthen families and communities -- in spite of this awful pandemic.
We are humbled and grateful for the outpouring of support over the past month, particularly with the knowledge that the pandemic changed many people’s financial circumstances. Now more than ever, we remain committed to protecting Kibale National Park and enhancing surrounding communities, as we have for the past 22 years.
Thank you and stay safe, strong and healthy.
Sample page from the Parent's SRH Handbook
Our health coordinator Patrick Tusiime & students