Between 24th to 28th October 2022, PACE Uganda held graduation ceremonies for 1,396 adolescent Girls and Young women (AGYW) from Mbale, Kitgum and Dokolo districts in Uganda. The functions were officiated by the Resident District Commissioners of each of the 3 districts and were attended by dignitaries from the Ministry of Health, Uganda AIDS Commission, TASO, District Local Government, Training institutions, the Global Fund Country Coordinating Mechanism, parents/caregivers and partners of the graduands.
The AGYWs benefitted from the Global Fund New Funding Model 2 and 3 grants to PACE through The AIDS Support Organization (TASO). The AGYWs received certificates in hair dressing, Tailoring, Knitting, Building, Welding, Bakery, Catering, Shoe making. A second life given to young girls and women who dropped out of school due to life challenges including early pregnancies, poverty and child neglect.
As an organization, the young people are at the fore front in all our HIV/TB, maternal health, Malaria, and Water Sanitation programs as they make up over 75% of Uganda’s population. Through youth/young people education, engagement, innovation and entrepreneurial solutions, PACE provides a platform for young people across Uganda to continue the momentum to address the structural drivers of HIV including poverty and Gender Based Violence.
As guided by the National HIV strategic plan, with resources from the Global Fund, an age-appropriate comprehensive HIV prevention package was provided to the AGYW. The package included SBCC/SRHR messages and a vocational program comprising market oriented and financial literacy skills.
The program has materialized with each of graduating AGYW receiving a startup kit (Sustainability kit) to start a new life. A program that PACE has implemented for the last 4 years has registered significant success with girls and women being employed, starting up their own businesses, joining savings schemes, are independently supporting their families, practicing safer healthy behavior, and walking the talk by sharing this information with their peers and partners. Through their mentors and peers, we are encouraging them to remain safe and for those found HIV positive, are being followed up to live positively.
We will continue to provide SBCC HIV prevention packages to 11,616 AGYWs and equip 4,692 of them with economic skills. Working with several stakeholders, we are committed to ending the HIV epidemic in Uganda.
We are grateful to the partners across the country that have enabled us to deliver a comprehensive HIV/TB/SRH/Malaria package to our AGYW and other beneficiaries. Our appreciation also goes to the District Local governments, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social development, for creating an enabling environment for us to ensure quality services to the vulnerable young girls and women.