Month: September 2014

Wining Essay for the Red Card to Under Age Alcohol Consumption Quiz

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What Influences Pupils in My School to Drink Alcohol and How Alcohol Is Affecting Pupils in My School

Alcohol is a huge problem hindering the youth’s life especially in schools today. Pupils at my school come from different areas and many of these come from the slum areas. Most slum areas are occupied by bars and nightclubs. As a result, many pupils get exposed to every type of alcohol like Vodka, Guinness, Tusker, Club and many others. Akello used to stay in Mukono with her parents but ever since they shifted to Kisenyi, she has been exposed to alcohol due to the surrounding nightclubs and bars whereby she is now a victim of alcoholism.

In addition, pupils who come from families with alcoholic backgrounds are influenced to drink alcohol. Mr. Twahah a tenant at Kawala-Kasubi is a truck driver who also stays with a 14 year old son, Abdullah. It was a Saturday morning when Mr. Twahah was heading to work and his son escorted him while carrying his luggage since he was going on safari to South Sudan. Mr. Twahah had to use a truck as his means of transport since he was a truck driver. When he reached the truck he had to open for Abdullah to put his father’s luggage on the truck. Mr. Twahah accidentally opened the door where bottles off alcohol were next to the driver’s seat. This left his son so astonished and in a glint of a second, he had to ask his father what he had to do with the bottles. He started stammering and answered with fear that he drinks alcohol; during the day to keep him alert while working. Since Abdullah’s father was his role model, he started drinking alcohol in order to be like his father and yet he was still a pupil; under the age of 18.

Junior is a pupil who stays with only his elder brothers who are alcohol addicts. Whenever they are preparing to go a live concert like “Amaaso-Ntuga” by Goodlyfe, he makes sure that he follows them as well; expecting nothing at the concert but alcohol. Due to peer pressure many pupils also dash in to make wrong choices when choosing friends and end up with alcohol addicted friends who introduce them to alcohol.
Uneducative series and movies that contain alcoholic practices for example people competing for alcohol. Ssekakmatte Julian is a good fan of movies and series. One day he watched a movie called “Twenty One and Over” where high school students were competing to see who drunk lot of alcohol and whoever finished first was given a brand new car. As the saying goes that “Africans believe in seeing,” Julian who was as eager as a bridegroom to taste alcohol had to steal from his mother’s safe since he knew where she keeps money. He went straight away to the nearby shop and bought sachets of vodka which he took and got drunk. By the time his mother, Ndiwalana, came back from work, she found her son unconscious due to the excessive alcohol he had drunk and was lying on the cold hard ground. His mother had to scream for help from neighbors who helped her rush her 13 year old boy who had just joined Senior one to the hospital. Fortunately, Julian was able to regain his coconsciousness and was advised not to take alcohol again.

Our neighbor’s daughter well known as Namakula Susan went to the night clubs with her friend. By the time she left the bar, she went alone and was staggering along side Bwasie road. This is where a car that was at a very highs speed knocked her down and as a result, this led to her death. Joan who was her friend got tired and wanted to go home was well. She looked for the way out of the bar and could not find it and she ended up in the bathroom where very strong men found her and defiled her and this is a point where she was extremely helpless since she could neither scream nor cry out for help. She got an unwanted pregnancy which lead to her dropping out of school. At the time, she had just been promoted to senior two. She was taken for a blood test by one of her friends and was found infected with HIV/AIDS. This ruined her entire life which led to abortion. By this time, she was left with no other option but to commit suicide which she did.

Just as I narrated Abdullah’s story earlier, he got addicted to alcohol because of his father which caused mental illness to him that he stated undressing in public and speaking in tongues. He could no longer think like a normal human being so he was finally taken to Butabika Hospital in Luzira for the rest of his life. Abdullah’s father died one year later when he had realized that his son was taken to Butabika Hospital and he died of liver cancer which is caused by excessive alcoholism.
In conclusion, I would suggest that alcohol should be banned in the whole world because it is one of the problems that is decreasing human population in the present situation. If this cannot be done, then the consent age of alcohol consumption a must be raised from 18 to 25 years.

By
NAKITENDE JULIET
LONDON COLLEGE NANSANA
The Winner of the Red Card Under Age Alcohol Consumption Quiz

Integrate sexual and reproductive health into enterprise development and skills building initiatives for young people

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Young people in Uganda face diverse sexual and reproductive health challenges that have both immediate and lasting consequences on their health, education and income-earning potential. Among these, unplanned pregnancy stands out as one of the most significant reproductive health challenges young people face. Unplanned pregnancy is devastating not only for the girl but also for the community and the country as a whole.

While various programs have been implemented to address the sexual and reproductive health issues of young people in school, unfortunately their counterparts who are out of school have not been adequately targeted with sexual and reproductive health information and services. This is mostly so in the case of girls and young women, who often drop out of school at an early age due to various social and economic factors including pregnancy.

For many young people aged 15-24 years, who are out of school, engaging in small business is one of the ways they try to make a living. Because they are not in touch with formal education structures, they tend to have limited knowledge about their sexuality and reproductive health, making them particularly vulnerable to sexual and reproductive health challenges.

For instance, research shows that many young people have wrong information about sexual reproductive health issues. According to a baseline study by Straight Talk Foundation and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in 2013, 54 percent of young people believe that a girl cannot get pregnant the first time she has unprotected sex. Most young people in business are already sexually active and yet have limited information about family planning and sexually transmitted infections. In addition they tend not to have responsible and positive health seeking behaviors; because of ignorance about the availability of services, distance to the health center and absence of youth friendly services.

As these young people venture into starting businesses, they are looking forward to reaping huge profits and becoming successful entrepreneurs. For a young person employment and a good income is the most important goal; sexual and reproductive health is low among their priorities.

However, these dreams of employment and a good life can be shattered with one bad decision. There is a positive correlation between income and vulnerability of young people towards sexual reproductive health challenges. Rather than protecting young people from sexual reproductive health issues, access to disposable income from their business makes them more vulnerable to such conditions. Having disposable income makes them prone to drug/alcohol abuse and multiple sexual relationships that expose them to HIV and other sexual transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancy.

The consequences of unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and other reproductive ill health are devastating for a young person as they are unprepared for the economic change that comes with dealing with these challenges. But the problem doesn’t end with the individual; the country also loses when young people suffer from reproductive ill health. According to UNFPA State of the World Population 2013, if an adolescent girl gets pregnant, the opportunity cost related to this pregnancy (the annual income foregone by the mother over her lifetime) is up to 30 per cent of Uganda’ annual GDP.)

 In an effort to address this situation therefore, young people in business should be targeted with sexual reproductive health information and services including family planning.

Linking reproductive information and services with economic activation and labour skills development programs will create greater opportunities for the young people to remain healthy and economically engaged, thereby saving huge health care costs.

 Investing in reproductive health of the young people in business will contribute to a reduction in the unmet need for family planning, prevalence of unplanned pregnancies and result in increased savings on   health care costs that would have been spent on managing these conditions.

 Programs like the Youth Enterprise Venture Capital Fund, Youth Livelihood, and financial literacy training must not focus on financial management alone but should also integrate information on sexual reproductive health in an effort to promote adoption of safer and healthier sexual practices among young people. Furthermore, with sound reproductive health information and access to services, youthful customers will be more likely to utilize the financial products resulting in a win-win situation for both the young people and the financial institutions.

We should also strive to develop innovative ways to deliver reproductive health information and services to young people involved in business, for instance by having outreaches to their places of work.

The process of economic empowerment of young people can only be complete if reproductive health challenges like unplanned pregnancies, teenage pregnancies, and HIV/AIDS are addressed.

 By Patricia Amito Lutwama

 Head of Programmes of Straight Talk Foundation