Through well researched media articles, I demystify cultural beliefs undermining uptake of family planning services. In Uganda where abortion is illegal, I have written articles to demonstrate that use of contraceptives helps in averting deaths due to unsafe abortions bit.ly/1lqvdL7. I have brought to national attention family planning issues affecting the most vulnerable women with disabilities bit.ly/1OhkttV and in hard-to-reach areas bit.ly/1F4EPnE. My articles have boasted advocacy efforts to increase uptake of family planning services and promoted the health and rights of girls and women. For this work, in 2015, I featured on Women Deliver global list of “15 journalists, 15 voices for girls and women”, and named “Commonwealth Young Achiever” by the Commonwealth Youth Council UK.
I grew up in a community where people believed use of contraceptives causes children disability. Women had no choice in determining the number of children they should have. In my journalism work, I encountered deep-seated resistance to family planning services where men cut their wives with razor blades to remove implants bit.ly/1HJYLgg and girls, because of lack of access to contraceptives, die from unsafe abortions. I decided to use a pen to take up the case for family planning services.
Challenge: Misconceptions, cultural and religious beliefs against family planning. Action: I do explanatory bit.ly/1XS1c6k and campaigning bit.ly/1icKC13 journalism to promote the understanding of reproductive and maternal health issues and demand for modern family planning services. I founded the charity, Education & Development Opportunity – Uganda (EDOU) www.edou.ug through which run the “Let Girls Be Girls” campaign advocating for girls health and rights and preventing teenage pregnancies.
Challenge: Limited access to information and family planning services for adolescents, rural and urban poor. Solutions: Targeted advocacy and sensitisation to increase demand for and supply of modern contraceptives, advancement and mainstreaming of SRHRs in policy and planning, women socio-economic empowerment and gender based violence prevention. Strengthen role of the media in providing information, advocacy and influencing policy for accelerated access and use of family planning services.
Implement project “Track Women in the Media” to track and document media coverage of women’s health & rights and establish an online resource centre on family planning & reproductive health and GBV in Uganda. This will aid programs development and targeted advocacy for increased demand for and supply of modern family planning services, and contribute to reducing Uganda’s unmet need of family planning from the current 34% to 10% and increase the national contraceptives prevalence from 30% to 50%.