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Windmill boys club members become the young champions of change

NAKAPIRIPIRIT: Ngiro Markson is a member of The Windmill Boys Club, one of the Empowerment and Livelihoods for Adolescents (ELA+) clubs in Tokora sub county Nakapiripirit district, Karamoja region.

“Before joining this club I was very violent. I would drink excessive alcohol and beat up my wife. I would stay out with my peers for long hours and I was not fending for my family,” Ngiro said. 

“To date, the club has enlightened and taught me how to be a responsible citizen.”

Ngiro says that he reduced alcohol intake and got more responsible. He is now a change agent discouraging violence and promoting peaceful means of resolving conflict.

Started in March 2019 and implemented through the Bangladesh Rural and Advancement Committee (BRAC), the 25-member club is one of the ELA+ clubs supported under the Karamoja United Nations HIV Prevention Programme (KARUNA) programme.

Members of the club are engaged in activities like games, music, dance and drama, and sensitizing communities on sexual and reproductive health including HIV and GBV prevention among youth and condom distribution to communities.

The goal of the ELA+ programme is to improve the quality of life of vulnerable adolescents, by creating an organised space for them to enable them develop a set of skills to live as confident, empowered and self-reliant individuals, and contributing to positive change in their own families and communities.

The club members are taken through, among others, life-skills education, financial literacy training, “’Fathers forum’’ meetings, indoor games competitions, book reading clubs, storytelling, short drama, singing, reciting poems among others. The boys also hold discussions on various social and health related issues including discouraging harmful cultural practices such as courtship rape and encouraging couples in courtship to consider testing for HIV before getting married.

Of the 25 club members, five have enrolled back to school and two are volunteering at Tokora HC IV to run the youth friendly centre. Two other club members are also enrolled as youth champions supporting Reach a Hand Uganda (RAHU) activities at the facility and in the community.