A look at…DSW Uganda!

Shane O'Halloran News, Uganda

Youth Champions pose for a photo next to the Youth TruckDSW Uganda was established in 1999 and currently operates in 10 districts namely; Kampala, Wakiso, Masindi, Mukono, Mityana, Jinja, Kamuli, Kiryadongo, Busia and Tororo, though the Youth Truck has covered almost the whole country. In these districts, DSW works in partnership with the local Government administration and implements different projects at community level

What We Do

DSW Uganda specializes in holistic youth programming with a core competency in advocacy for adolescent sexual and reproductive health. DSW has positioned itself as a catalyst of evidence based advocacy efforts on Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health and a key technical advisor to decision makers on health budgeting and the role of Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) in other health conditions such as HIV, maternal and child health. At the same time, we foster an active citizenry and civil society through capacity building on advocacy, resource mobilization, Entrepreneurship-Business, civic education and governance. DSW is also emerging as an advocate and promoter of Population, Health, and Environment (PHE) programming at national, district and community Levels with people-centred PHE projects at community level.

UG WOGESince its establishment, DSW Uganda has implemented several projects. These have targeted different interventions but complimenting each other. Such projects are implemented at both national and sub-national levels. These include; Women and Girls Empowerment (WOGE), Healthy Action, GeNext, Euro leverage, Civil Society HIV prevention project (CSF), Youth Empowerment Services for Uganda (Yes4Uganda), Youth Enabling Services for Uganda (Yes4Uganda 2) Men Engage, Empowerment of people with disabilities to demand for improved SRH services, BINGO, Uganda Programme for Human and Holistic Development (UPHOLD), Young Adolescents Project, CORE Initiative, Hewlett, Strengthening Youth Friendly Services (SYOFs).

DSW Uganda Goals

To contribute to increased access to SRHR services, information and supplies in Uganda

To contribute to integration and prioritizing of SRHR within national health programme in Uganda

To contribute to the empowerment and improvement of young people’s health and socio-economic well being in Uganda.

To promote programmatic linkages between SRHR and environment interventions by communities and other stakeholder in Uganda

Summary of Achievements

DSW Uganda has been in existence for more than 16 years and we have done a tremendous job in empowering young people by equipping them with skills that support them to make healthy and informed choices. Since 2001, DSW has operated a sexual reproductive health training center as a transformational and learning hub providing hands on skills and knowledge in youth programming, SRHR, advocacy and soft skills to young people, NGOs, government staff and the private sector. The Training centre is also intended to generate sustainable revenue for DSW’s operations in the future.

Ms. Phiona Naigaga-Project Officer of GeNext training youth championsDSW Uganda maintains a network of 52 youth clubs who are equipped with life skills and information on SRHR and Family Planning. These clubs conduct community awareness activities and act as referral points; an estimate of 405,000 young people has been reached and over 128,000 young people have been referred to health centers to access information and services on SRHR and family planning. More young people have also been reached through our high impact annual events like teen bash, youth camps, which have transformed lives of many youths. Annually DSW through such events reaches 25,000 young people on average.

DSW Uganda uses the Youth Truck to moblise youths and educate them through highly participatory and youth friendly methods like film shows, games and sports activities, as well as group work, role plays and discussions in which themes like adolescent sexual reproductive health and rights information,, entrepreneurship skills, life skills education and non-violent conflict resolution. In the past 16 years we have reached an estimate of 164,000 people in most districts in Uganda especially hard to reach areas.

DSW Uganda supports youth clubs to start up income generating activities that help to support them for continuity and sustainability. Through participation in these activities, club members are encourage to initiate personal initiatives for individual economic sustainability. According to a socio-economic survey conducted in November 2015, 61% young people in DSW Uganda club networks reported an increment in their income levels Clubs have been trained in resource mobilization and empowered to lobby for financial support from respective local governments and other CSOs. Similarly an assessment conducted in November 2015 reveals that Club income generating activities earned a total income of 11,587 EUR and profits of 4,815 EUR.

Through our project, “Women and Girls Empowerment“, (WOGE),” with a major focus on economic empowerment, trained 40 groups of women and girls in income generating activities like candle making, tailoring, jewelry making, knitting, baking, poultry, goat rearing, bee keeping and agriculture among others. These groups were not only given capital to start business but were also equipped with marketing skills. through their various activities the groups have registered an increase in their income base in that they are now able to meet their financial obligations including providing for domestic needs, support their spouses to pay for their children’s school dues. This project also trained male champions who have continued to fight sexual and gender based violence in their communities and supporting the women in their quest for economic stability and peace in their homes.

DSW Uganda strengthens and consolidates its advocacy efforts through working with coalitions and civil society groups. Through its subscription to the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) coalition, DSW petitioned Parliamentary Health committee urging Members of Parliament to use their constitutional appropriation powers for a people-centered budget which prioritizes the lives of Ugandans especially Health. The health sector budget has increased in 2016 from 1.227 trillion (FY 2015/16) to 1.828 trillion (FY 2016/17) – approximately 50% increase! The 50% increment to the health sector budget is a commendable step towards availability of health services to the citizens of this country.

DSW Uganda increases its achievements by maintaining partnerships with CSOs and Government agencies as well as having strong links with policy makers through their vibrant groups such as the Network for Parliamentarians and ministers, the social services committee and Parliamentary Youth Forum. Other partners include agencies such as Partners for Population and Development, SRHR Alliance, UNFPA, NPC Marie Stopes, Uganda Health Marketing Group and Reproductive Health Uganda.

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