Supporting vulnerable women

Economic and social empowerment

Teenage pregnancy and motherhood has remained a major health and social concern in Uganda. There is a negative effect on the socioeconomic status of the mother, and hence the child, because current school policy is to have pregnant girls terminate their education. Uganda has one of the highest rates of adolescent pregnancy in Sub- Saharan Africa (American Journal of Sociological Research 2013). Adolescent girls who become pregnant are often unable to complete a secondary education.

We engage women and teenage mothers in our livelihood and economic empowerment programme that involves training and provision of practical skills with a purpose to improve life and business skills through economic empowerment initiatives. Goal Club Initiative would love to see improved ability of Youth specially marginalized women in the community able to apply skills for economic development. The major approaches to economic strengthening include support towards income generating activities – implemented through both individual/household targeted and group-based IGAs, micro-credit and loans support through Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs), business skills training, and apprenticeship skills training for out-of-school Girls.

 

Promotion of re-entry of Girls in schools

Early and unintended pregnancy often leads to adolescents to drop out of school, most girls and boys drop out of school after becoming a teen parent (Almeida and Aquino, 2009). Educating girls and women has been shown to have large socioeconomic benefits, such as lowering infant mortality and morbidity, improving family health and nutrition, lowering fertility rates and increasing household income. A study conducted in Uganda by UNESCO demonstrated that each additional year of education for girls reduces their chances of contracting HIV by 6.7 percent. We promote formal and non-formal education programming for teenage mothers and this should be scaled-up, with special attention age-appropriate adult literacy programs and the transition from primary to secondary school. We work with schools to support education of pregnant mothers through bursary programs basing on vulnerability and merit for rebuilding and retraining.

 

Psychosocial support

Stigmatization of adolescent pregnancy among is common and little informal support is available to adolescent mothers especially from their mothers. Family support and community involvement are still crucial to the creation and sustainability of viable supports for pregnant adolescent girls. Similarly, adequate social resources are needed to lighten the burden of pregnant adolescents in reacting to undesirable life events such as stigmatized pregnancy. Absence of such resources prompts adolescent girls with unintended pregnancy to unsafe abortion, dejection, loss of hope, depression and drug abuse among other health or psychosocial situations. The Goal Club Initiative implements psychosocial programmes in secondary and vocational schools to assist students with psychosocial and trauma health problems identify coping strategies, reduce psychological distress and encourage referral and further treatment when necessary. We use a problem solving counseling approach with interpersonal skill training.

 

We also focus on interventions aimed at improving young people sexual health that involve young people in defining and providing reproductive health services since they are part of the community. This will not only improve the quality of services that will be provided, it will also create a sense of belonging and an avenue to learn properly from their peers. We implement high-quality comprehensive sexuality education for girls and boys including knowledge and skills on pregnancy, pregnancy prevention, contraception and STIs. We facilitate and promote effective linkages between schools and adolescent responsive services. We use arts, culture and sport in order to promote SRH in school.