10 June 2016

Uganda's Youth Take Lead in Keeping Global Development Goals On Track

Young people in Uganda have learned how to track progress towards global development goals for 2030 at a workshop in Kampala in April.

There are 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the third one is to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all, at all ages. In order for it to be successful, young people must be actively involved in monitoring progress.

With this in mind, the Uganda youth coalition on adolescent sexual and reproductive health rights and HIV/AIDS (CYSRA-Uganda) carried out a four-day workshop. Its aims were to train young people and help them get meaningfully involved in advocacy and accountability as the goals are implemented over the next 15 years.

CYSRA-Uganda is a coalition of youth led networks and organisations and is one of the partners responsible for implementing Link Up, a project championing adolescent health, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, and HIV. In Uganda it is finding ways to ensure the SDGs work for young people.

"My voice counts"

Tyra Luzinda (20), a youth peer educator and transgender woman, was among the delegates attending the workshop. She was rescued by Transgender Equality Uganda after being sent away from home and expelled from school because of her gender identity.

When asked about whether she knew what the goals meant to her, Tyra said she knew they existed. However she said she did not know how to hold the government accountable so the SDGs work for her - particularly in challenging the attitudes she faces from health workers who ask many questions about her gender identity.

"But I gained knowledge from the workshop after knowing my voice counts and that SDG3 is about ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing for all, meaning that as a transgender person I am involved in monitoring progress," said Tyra.

Holding government to account

At the workshop, CYSRA-Uganda, together with other leading organisations, discussed the indicators which should be followed in order to successfully track progress.

Wilber Kakaire, an advocate from youth organisation Restless Development, said: "We need to come up with activities that will guide participants in mapping exercises of our accountability at the country level and improving participants' understanding about evidenced-based data."

He said activities should address young people's needs for HIV services and sexual and reproductive health services. This means youth involvement, universal provision of sexual and reproductive health services, education, information that is measurable and a greater commitment to gender equality. Reproductive health must be incorporated into sustainable development strategies in order to track progress in this area.

Movement of youth leaders

Speaking at the workshop Musah Bungudu, UNAIDS country project director, said: "In order to achieve SDG3, on healthy lives for all, we need to involve ourselves in implementation and programming for activities which create change.

"To achieve the ambitious UNAIDS 90-90-90 target by 2020, you need to integrate HIV services, collect data and document researched information on the current issues affecting people to act as advocacy tools."

The workshop was delivered as part of Act! 2015, a youth social mobilisation strategy led by a coalition of over 25 HIV and youth organisations. This supports youth organisations to lobby political leaders to include HIV and sexual and reproductive health in discussions around the SDGs.

Act! 2015 aims to inspire action, strengthen young people's skills and build a movement of youth leaders to lead accountability over the next 15 years.


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