Reach A Hand Uganda (RAHU) is a youth led non-profit organization focused on youth empowerment programs with an emphasis on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.
In a colorful and rather electric-with-youthful-energy ceremony last evening, Reach A Hand, Uganda honored young people who have chosen to influence positive decision making among-st their peers wherever they go in the world. Over fifty (50) university students and senior six leavers have been trained and equipped with comprehensive sexuality education with a focus on young people by Reach A Hand, Uganda (RAHU).
“This year’s Academy has been thrilling, more engaging and informative compared to the last two intakes we have had because we made a curriculum review to suit the ever changing barriers and needs of young people. We strongly believe we are going to have a unique class of peer educators this year” Bakshi Asuman, RAHU’s Programs Manager said.
The Peer Educators’ Academy an initiative by RAHU started in 2014 as a platform established to train and equip young people with in-depth information and skills on sexual reproductive health and rights so as they pass on the knowledge acquired to their peers for the rest of the year when they are spread out to different schools and communities across the country.
“If we are talking about young people being agents of change, we need to arm them with all the necessary information on peer to peer conversations, online and offline communications, sexuality and motivation so that they help their peers whether in class, recreation parks, or anywhere.” Humphrey Nabimanya, RAHU’s team leader and founder emphasized.
The academy which started on January 4th, has had a wide range of very many influential and experienced facilitators both young and old for example Dr. Maggie Kigozi (member of Uganda’s Elders Forum), Angelo Izama, a renowned journalist and social media expert , Winnie Nansumba HIV positivity activist , Rev. Sam Ruteikara the acting health secretary for Church of Uganda, Evelyn Keko Hip hop Musician and drug abuse champion, Richard Musinguzi, gentleman behind celebrate animated character Katoto and many more.
“Young people today face many challenges than ever before. There is a lot of information but at the same a lot of ignorance. This is your chance to break this barrier and be an inspiration to fellow young people. Engage and communicate and above all, be change makers” Dr. Maggie Kigozi speaking at the closing ceremony of the 2016 class at Seven Trees in Kampala.
At the end of the training, the Peer Educators are distributed in 25 different schools, attached to different organizations and mentored for the next seven months. Under this approach, behavior change starts with the peer educator. The changed peer educator then influences a positive change among a fellow youth in schools, mainly from the SRHR clubs. These school SRHR club members then adopt the promoted behavior. After realizing the benefits of the new behavior or practice, they target their peers who in turn choose to change behavior.
The Reach A Hand, Uganda Peer Educators Academy is supported by the Segal Family Foundation, Rutgers, MTV Staying Alive Foundation and Victoria University.