Distancing itself from its troubled past, Uganda has gained recognition in recent years for its tough stance in tackling HIV and AIDS across the country.
ICS volunteers support Uganda’s growth through supporting local entrepreneurs and improving employability, alongside increasing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) awareness with an aim of reducing HIV infection among the country’s youth population.
Supporting health initiatives
Huge progress has been made in recent years in tackling Uganda’s HIV and AIDS epidemic. After a huge increase in new HIV infections from 2005-2013, this rate has now been steadily failing.
Young people are the target for Restless Development’s sexual and reproductive health (SRH) work. This group of people are the most vulnerable to HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases – yet just two in five 15 to 24-year-olds know all the necessary facts to prevent HIV.
ICS volunteers help by bringing HIV and STI testing services to young people in rural communities who don’t normally have access to these services.
You can expect to be involved in inviting health centre staff to offer talks to young people, organising HIV testing clinics and running discussions in the community, including with parents.
Helping people to support themselves and their families
A big focus of ICS in Uganda is on creating a sustainable source of income for local people – either through working with small entrepreneurs to grow their businesses, or through increasing young people’s employability so they can access opportunities and support their families and communities.
With Restless Development, volunteers can expect to be part of a nationwide team helping tackle Uganda’s 83% unemployment rate among 15-24 year-olds – by developing these young people’s skillsets in rural communities where personal development isn’t always high on the agenda.
Living in Uganda
There are multiple project locations in Uganda, including Mbale, Iganga, Tororo, Kampala, Kayunga, Bulamagi and Makigo. All placements in Uganda see volunteers living with host families, usually with one other volunteer.
As with other placements, volunteers living with host families will be expected to eat like a local. Ugandan dishes are usually centred on a staple of groundnuts, beans or meat, accompanied by ugali (maize meal) or matoke (boiled and mashed green banana).
And it’s not just what happens on placement that counts. Volunteers have also been involved in community work, having organised school sports days, sexual health awareness sessions and litter picking in the community.