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Adjumani Town Council in Adjumani district is one of the areas in the country that is riddled with different culturally gender based forms of violence. In this area, it is not uncommon for a pregnant girl’s family to negotiate ‘kasurube’ (dowry) and marry off the young girl. Even more, is the reigning belief that when a girl starts her menstruation she is fit for marriage, if she refuses to marry, she is stigmatized till she succumbs to the pressure. The existing gender bias towards men being the ‘providers’ and bread winners in the home leaves some women with the false idea that they cannot be able to fully earn an income on their own. This status quo leaves many women and girls feeling helpless, with little hope for a brighter future.

The Way

 Baayoa Kevin, 21 years old is the secretary for the Happy Hours savings group. Happy Hours is a YSLA group located in Adjumani Town Council that was started by the UNFPA WAY program to address key challenges that adolescents and young people face in the communities.  “When I joined this group, I  had nothing. Even when I was being told I could save, I wondered how possible it was.’ Kevin recounts. ‘I used to take drugs and gamble; and the money I would get from my boyfriend would be used to buy alcohol. Whenever I got drunk, I would harass my boyfriend and accuse him of infidelity.’ She goes on to note that while that time was difficult for her, she is glad to have joined ‘Happy Hours’ because she is finally able to save her money and is now running a budding business using the skills she attained. “The WAY program has not only benefited me but also my spouse. My spouse is now very friendly and supports my business. We both stopped taking drugs, no longer fight; but plan how to develop our business.”

Mediyo Stella, 22 years holds her 1 ½ year old baby as she reflects, ‘If it was not for the WAY program ‘removing’ all the myths I had about Family Planning, I would be pregnant  by now and I probably would not even attend ANC for that baby.’ Her baby grabs her finger and plays with it, she pauses to smile at her. ‘Thanks to WAY, I am on Family Planning.My daughter has enough space to get my love and attention. I am also able to attend to my charcoal business because I saved some money in our group. Thanks to WAY, I was able to borrow business capital from the group. Using that capital, I started a roadside business, I am now able to buy what I want for myself and for my children.”


Saving my money makes me happy!

Happy Hours savings group has a membership of 30 young people; the youngest being 18 years old. It has grown its share capital from zero to about USD 700. Majority of the ladies are survivors of GBV; who often contemplated using Family Planning and SRH services but lacked sufficient knowledge on how to use them we now have the information.. On top of offering financial and business education, the WAY program, through the Happy Hours savings group, offers young women knowledge and referral for contraceptive and SRHR services as well as psycho-social counselling for victims of GBV. Happy hours is now a fully registered member of Adjumani Town Council SACCO, where they can access more credit facilities using their social capital courtesy of WAY skills.

The members, are quick to share their  dreams to set up a fully registered business  to have outdoor decoration, catering services, own  chairs for hiring.


Written by Judi Erongot AYSRHR Program Analyst