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Skilling teachers to promote adolescent health, prevent gender violence in schools

27 September 2018
Pupils from Uganda Kids Primary school in Adjumani district having fun during break time. The training aimed to address reproductive health concerns such as body changes and preventing teenage among adolescents such as these. PHOTO: UNFPA/Evelyn Matsamura Kiapi

WESTNILE, Moyo: Primary school teachers working in refugee hosting communities in the west Nile district of Moyo have benefited from a training on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights and prevention of Gender Based Violence under the Women, Adolescents and Youth Rights and Empowerment (WAY) programme.

With support from UNFPA and coordinated through Implementing Partners CARE international, 100 teachers from 50 schools across nine sub-counties in the district gained skills and knowledge on prevention of Gender Based Violence (GBV) in schools, the referral pathway and basic counselling skills. The training also addressed the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) concerns among adolescents such as body changes and teenage pregnancy.

“I did not have adequate knowledge and skills to handle my learners’ issues in the areas of SRHR and GBV,” said thirty-six year-old Bayoa Felichina, a teacher at Idrimari Primary School, Laropi Sub County.

“I am now equipped with new knowledge which I intend and I feel confident to handle SRHR/GBV related issues in my school,” she said about how the training has benefited her.

She said she intends to use her new skills to sensitize the learners and the community on SRHR and GBV related problems and preventive measures.

Another participant, Alioni Patrick, 32, said before the training, he had little knowledge about how to handle challenges related to reproductive health concerns of the young adolescents.

“I have learned that SRHR/GBV issues affecting young people should be given the utmost attention and handled promptly and expeditiously or else it would affect their learning and lives in general. I am now in a better position to identify, handle and where necessary refer GBV and SRHR issues to the relevant service providers,” said the teacher of Eremi Primary School, Metu Sub County.

“I intend to be exemplary and approachable to the learners so that they can easily confide in me any challenges that they face in relation to SRHR/GBV,” Alioni said.

Forty-eight-year-old Edea Joyce Kupajo a teacher at Itula Primary School, Itula Sub County also confessed that initially, she had little knowledge about SRHR and GBV concerns of the young people. She said the training had now equipped her with the skills of understanding, preventing and handling cases of SRHR and GBV in my school and community.

“I had for long been looking out for an opportunity to get this kind of training because issues of SRHR and GBV are very common in my school and the community that I live in,” she said.

Now, Ms Edea intends to strengthen the health and sanitation club in her school, follow-up school dropout girls in the community because of SRHR and GBV concerns; create awareness to the women in the community on issues of SRHR and GBV. She also intends to sensitise a women’s group (Itula Women empowerment) on issues of SRHR and GBV.

“I will also provide guidance and counselling to my own children especially girls, widows, and HIV/AIDS positive mothers; organize home visits to survivors of GBV and make referrals where need be.”

The District Education Officer ensured that all schools selected one male and one female teacher to participate in the training.

Funded by the Danish Government, the five-year WAY programme aims to strengthen sexual and reproductive health and rights service delivery and gender based violence prevention and response among women, adolescents and youth in Northern Uganda. The programme is being be implemented in the districts of Adjumani, Agago, Amuru, Arua, Kitgum, Lamwo, Moyo, and Yumbe.

 

Compiled by: Obwot Fred (CARE International in Uganda)