Sexual Health Improvement Project (SHIP) is an idea that was conceived following a training on Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASRH) and HIV/AIDs prevention in Israel in 2007. This training was attended by 4 members of staff from Population Secretariat in 2007. After the training, these members, because of their passion and enthusiasm saw it befitting to share and transfer the knowledge and skills they had acquired during that training to other Ugandans as a way of contributing to improving the quality of life of young people in Uganda.
Although the school curriculum by Ministry of Education has incorporated Sexual Health Education, in both primary and secondary schools, studies still reveal that due to several reasons, the education system has not provided children with accurate and adequate information on sexual health issues to ensure that children, both boys and girls are correctly guided into safe and healthy adulthood.
It is against this background that Sexual Health Improvement Project (SHIP) seeks to complement efforts already in place and fill these gaps through innovative, non formal, interactive and participatory approaches to sexual health education. The project intends to also incorporate issues such as self esteem and gender stereotypes among the topics to be taught in order to ensure that the subject of sexual health is comprehensively covered.
Progress in Implementation
Having started in Rukungiri District, SHIP deemed it befitting to expand further and train another set of Sexual Health Educators (SHEs) from the community of Masindi district and attach them to the would-be selected schools to provide the sexual health skills to adolescents as a strategy for continuity and sustainability of the programme. SHIP requires SHEs who are of integrity and willing to work as volunteers in communities.
The training aims at meeting the following objectives:
a) To equip the SHEs (Sexual Health Educators) with knowledge and skills on how to effectively communicate to young people both in schools and outside schools in order to address sexual and reproductive health issues including HIV/AIDs.
b) To provide an opportunity for sharing and interacting with the SHEs and trainers as a way of sharing experiences and learning from the Israel model of Sexual Health Education
c) To provide the SHEs with basic information/facts about human sexuality, human reproduction, anatomy, psychology, sexual orientation, HIV/AIDs/STIs baring in mind the cultural factors
d) To enhance sustainability mechanisms of SHIP and facilitate roll out of the life skills, communication skills, decision making skills and knowledge on a culturally sensitive model of sexual health education.