The Kasiisi Project Girl’s program works to keep girls in schools. Data show that that each additional year of education for girls reduces the risk of HIV infection by 7% and delays the first pregnancy by a year! However since Uganda has the highest teen pregnancy rate in sub-saharan Africa with over 30% of Ugandan girls having their first baby by the time they are 18, HIV infection rates are 9 times higher in girls than boys the same age and Uganda has one of the highest maternal death rates in the world, 25% of which are from unsafe abortions we also make reproductive health an area of primary focus.
This month, In collaboration with the Jane Goodall Institute (Uganda), the Kasiisi Project hosted a 3 day residential Girls’ Peer Education workshop for 2 students and the Senior Woman Teacher from each of 13 Kasiisi Project schools. The girls learned about health and well being as they enter womanhood and were given training in the qualities and strategies of how to be good mentors in their schools for other girls.
The workshop covered key areas of importance to the girls, both biological and social, and included communication, decision making, negotiation, and building confidence and self-esteem. Adolescent growth and health, changes in their bodies and those of boys, pregnancy and menstruation and the prevention and impact of HIV/AIDS were discussed at length. Students and teachers worked together in small groups produced posters which they then presented to the whole group for discussion.