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At a glance

Globally, adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) between the ages of 10-24 account for more than half of the people living with HIV. Specifically, in 2015 alone, approximately 450,000 new infections occurred among AGYW, which translates into 8,600 new infections every week.

In Uganda, 1 million people have died of HIV-related illnesses, and there are over 1.3 million people living with HIV. Despite the readily available anti-retroviral therapy (ART), the country registers 230 HIV new infections a day, and more alarmingly, 76 Ugandans die of HIV-related causes every single day.

People living in fishing communities in Uganda are among the most vulnerable and high risk groups that have not received adequate attention. These communities accounts for about 22.5 percent of the country's 137,000 new HIV infections.

In Buvuma District, An estimated 90 percent of the population directly depends on fisheries resources and related enterprises, with over 10,000 people engaged in secondary activities including, fish processing, trading, and other related services.

Our Strategy

The BUGEP Project sought to reduce the overwhelming burden of HIV on 1,250 adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) aged 10-24, including those with disabilities, in Buvuma District through the provision of comprehensive sexuality education (CSE). Specifically, CenRID contributed to improving the knowledge of HIV and sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) among AGYW by providing various services, including prevention and diagnosis of HIV/AIDS, counseling on family planning, prevention and management of gender-based violence, prevention of unsafe abortion and providing safe abortion care, promotion of menstrual hygiene and health, etc. Intensive social and behavior change communication (SBCC) activities, including workshops targeting community and traditional leaders, performed art festivals (PAFs), teen outreaches, etc. were undertaken to narrow, reframe, and eliminate gender differences in sexuality while bolstering those positive attitudes related to gender norms.

Teen outreach activities, including volunteer community service; working as aides in health centers, witnessing/partaking in HIV counseling sessions, participating in HIV outreach events, etc. were designed, based on the helper-therapy principle, to empower the AGYW by giving them a chance to be help-givers rather than help-receivers. These activities improved their skills and sense of self-efficacy, promoted essential attitude change about the perceived personal risk of HIV infection, helped the girls to develop a belief in the right to and responsibility for safe practices, promoted greater open-mindedness concerning gender roles, and increased the basic rights of those vulnerable to and affected by HIV and AIDS.

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Community Facilitators (CFs) finalizing data collection tools before heading to the field in Buvuma District

A community facilitator interviewing a member of a household, as part of the household profiling to identify the AGYW.

Meet The Experts

joseph matovu

Dr. Matovu is a behavioral research scientist with over 25 years’ experience in the implementation of social, behavioral and epidemiologic research. He is an author of up to 66 peer-reviewed, scientific papers (including a book chapter) and an Associate Editor with AIDS and Behavior journal.

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alana kolundzija

Alana has worked at the intersection of gender, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and social inclusion for over 15 years. She applies an intersectional feminist approach to asset-based community development and results-based accountability with a focus on equity and gender transformative approaches.

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Chichi  has 10+ years of interdisciplinary experience working in International Development as a Global Health Professional in Burkina Faso, Eswatini, Uganda, and the US. She joined PEPFAR Uganda in August 2019 where she supported the violence prevention and response portfolio.

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Dr. Smiles has worked in the global public health field for 15 years with extensive experience designing, implementing evidence-based and scalable programs focused on adolescent girls and young women in Sub-Saharan Africa and the United States.

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