Impact Through Peers (ITP) project
By Dr. Mutabazi Sharif, Executive Director Health and Development Agency Uganda
This is a one year project funded by Rose Charities Canada through the Hillman Medical Education Fund that started in October 2011. The project covers six secondary schools in Mbarara Municipality, Western Uganda, reaching a total population of 4000 students. The project design was adopted from the results of a study carried out in Mbarara Municipality in five randomly selected schools which showed that teens obtain most of their information about sexual health from their peers or other Adults.
This Hillman Fund Project aims to train Peer Group trainers who can go around and teach Sexual Health Education to teens. In 2011, thirteen Peer Group Trainers(PGTs) were trained in Facilitation skills, HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Infections, Prevention, Gender and Sexuality, Stigma, Body Changes and adolescence, Hygiene and Sanitation, Life Skills, unintended pregnancies, Leadership Skills, and Environmental protection. IEC(Information, Education and Communication), materials have also been designed for use by these PGTs. The PGTs are expected to train 36 Peer Group Educators (PGEs), selected from each of the six schools who will disseminate intended messages to their Peers. This year, starting in March, they will go into six schools and create Peer Group School Clubs, where students will learn about sexual health from one of the Peer Group Educators.
There is need to train teachers and parents as well because they are an indispensable source of information to adolescents too, but such an undertaking needs resources for training of personnel and media campaigns including radio talk shows, TV shows and designing/printing EIC materials for teachers and parents.
Uganda is one of the few African countries to have a declining HIV rate because of its commitment to health education, HIV testing and treatment. However, HIV is still prevalent and sexual health education is one of many steps in combating it.
We are currently covering only six schools out of 63 secondary schools in Mbarara District due to funding limitations. We would have wished to spread all over the district to cover all the schools.
It costs about $1250 to expand the program into another school. If you would like to help us expand our program, please donate to the Hillman Medical Education Project, a project of Rose Charities Canada. Thank-you for your donation!