Volunteer Uganda are an organisation in our nearby town of Kanungu. They coordinate volunteers, often university students or gap year students, to teach in local schools for 6-12 weeks throughout the year. As part of this project they run HIV awareness days in different secondary schools throughout the region every 6 weeks. I met Sam and Pete who work for Volunteer Uganda, as they also work for the Pastoral Lead teachers network in Kanungu (which is the PE in USHAPE!) and they invited me along to a HIV awareness day to see what they do and see if we could suggest any ways to develop the material they use.
The volunteers performed sketches and games for hundreds of children to illustrate different messages about HIV prevention, condom use and abstinence. They all did a great job and we’re very confident in their delivery. Unfortunately contraception is still quite a taboo subject in schools and they’re having to build the trust of the schools before including much material about contraception.
In the afternoon the children split into groups and there were different areas they could go to to do different activities e.g. practising putting a condom on a model, asking questions about male and female change during puberty. I really enjoyed chatting to some of the students afterwards and answering their questions. It highlighted to me just how important this work is as they had lots of questions and maybe didn’t have many people to ask them to. One of the VU organisers told me that the school curriculum has recently changed to include more about contraception and reproductive health etc so hopefully things will slow change.