YOMHI-Uganda, the initiative empowering young mothers in Uganda to drive sustainable development

 YOMHI-Uganda, the initiative empowering young mothers in Uganda to drive sustainable development

In the Busoga region of Uganda, a group of young social scientists has come together to form Young Mothers Health Initiatives, Uganda (YOMHI-Uganda). With a focus on health, rights, and development needs of adolescent girls and young women, their children, and families, YOMHI-Uganda aims to create a just and empowered society where young people are drivers in creating sustainable development in Africa.

Under the initiative’s Step-up with Her Empowerment (SHE) Project, YOMHI-Uganda addresses important community concerns. Funded by USAID-PEPFAR, this project tackles issues such as unplanned pregnancies among young people living with HIV and the need for adolescent girls and young women to access psychosocial support services. 

Through the establishment of 18 mothers’ clubs, YOMHI-Uganda has provided inputs for backyard gardening to promote better nutrition practices in households. Kyegobola Robert, co-founder and Result & Learning Manager at YOMHI-Uganda, explains to Crispng.com that “this initiative has led to improved nutrition at the household level and a reduction in the number of malnourished children reported at health facilities.”

To further address the health concerns of adolescent girls and young women, YOMHI-Uganda has trained 48 Young Champion Mothers on HIV and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). These mothers deliver bi-weekly voice moments aimed at reducing HIV infections among their peers. Using the stepping stones methodology and customized games and sports activities, positive peer support is enhanced, creating a safe and supportive environment for young women.

In addition to health-focused interventions, YOMHI-Uganda also nurtures leadership capabilities among adolescent girls and young women. Through quarterly Friendship bench sessions, the organization engages local leaders, garnering their commitments for community-based advocacy interventions. Parents and guardians are also empowered to conduct table talks on HIV and SRHR with young people in their homes, recognizing their influential role in shaping their children’s health.

To ensure the sustainability of their initiatives, YOMHI-Uganda equips Young Champion Mothers with the necessary information and skills to deliver age-appropriate information and services through the 18 community spots, which serve as youth resource and support centers.

Customized games and interactive sessions ensure sustained attendance and engagement of young people. With regional and international recognition, YOMHI-Uganda has forged partnerships and expanded coverage to hard-to-reach fishing communities.

However, YOMHI-Uganda faces challenges in its mission. Limited funding sources hinder their ability to reach a larger population of young women in need. “To overcome this,” says Kyegobola Robert, “we encourage community members to contribute small donations and engage the community services department to enroll mothers’ clubs into government women support programs.”

The organization also generates income through the sale of craft items produced at the Youth Resource and Support Centers to support administrative costs.

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Despite these challenges, YOMHI-Uganda remains dedicated to empowering young mothers and driving sustainable development in Uganda. With the passion and dedication of its directors and volunteers, the organization continues to make a lasting impact in the lives of adolescent girls and young women, their children, and their families.

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