SheDecides Day HangOut: Stand Up, Speak Out - Take Action
Location: Kampala, Uganda
Date: 2 March
The Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum (UYAHF) in partnership with the Belgium Embassy in Uganda presented 'HangOut' - an event marking SheDecides Day on 2 March 2018. SheDecides friends and champions in Uganda came together under the theme 'Stand Up, Speak Out Take Action' to highlight, leverage and catapult action to greater heights so that every girl and woman can decide what happens with their own bodies.
The HangOut was a free, open space where over 100 vibrant young women gathered to stand up, speak out and share personal experiences about exercising their rights, and created opportunities for them to participate in dialogue around policy and laws in the Ugandan context, particularly about creating a policy, legal and social environment supportive of a world where women and girls can decide about their bodies, lives and futures without question.. The event was inclusive of young women living with HIV, young women living with disabilities, survivors of sexual and gender based violence, young mothers, young refugee women and more.
At the event, the girls clearly noted that they "want to be empowered with accurate and appropriate sexuality education and information to guide their decision making and choices". They decried the poor policy and social environment that has made essential sexual and reproductive health and rights services inaccessible due to discrimination. They called for quality, dignity and affordable services, as well as as a fully functional law that brings to justice the perpetrators of sexual and gender based violence against women and girls.
To decide and to decide freely, the young participants noted that access to contraception, safe abortion services, HIV services, education, menstruation health facilities and a supportive policy environment that promotes the rights of girls and women are absolutely critical.
SheDecides Champion Patrick Mwesigye is founder and team leader of UYAHF. In a statement, Patrick said: "Many thanks to our partners that graced the HangOut with their presence, and spoke passionately on the promotion of the rights of women and girls and how they are stand up, speak out and take action".
Key partners included: Representatives from UNFPA Uganda #Embassy of the Netherlands in Uganda, Embassy of Sweden in Uganda, Norwegian Embassy Kampala, Danish Embassy in Kampala, Uganda Association of Gynecologists and Obstetricians, Center for Health Human Rights and Social Development, Parliament of Uganda, Marie Stopes International, Plan International Uganda Planned Parenthood Global and others.
"Together we are creating a new normal, we are righting the wrongs and we are unapologetic about defending the rights of women and girls to decide #WithoutQuestion."