IAWG members are addressing sexual and reproductive rights during COVID-19 humanitarian response. Read More>>

Community Organization Advances SRHR for Adolescents in Rhino Camp Refugee Settlement

Community transformation centers the work and leadership of Youth Action for Community Transformation (YACOT), a community-based organization advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in northwest Uganda. YACOT is based in the Odobu Zone of Rhino Camp Refugee Settlement, serving refugees (mostly from neighboring South Sudan) and members of the host community.

Focused on serving the needs of community members from ages 15-35, YACOT leads SRH education, advocacy, and supply distribution. Co-founder and Executive Director Met Lim Gatluak said that, for HIV/AIDS, YACOT offers testing, basic counseling, and community-based outreach. Other SRHR programming includes the distribution of condoms, menstrual care management workshops, and family planning referrals.

YACOT works in partnership with Odobu Health Center 2, a local clinic offering technical expertise, in-demand SRHR supplies (namely contraception), and medical equipment. This partnership was creatively established after YACOT realized that community members’ needs went beyond the supplies and knowledge they could offer.

Clients who reach out to YACOT and require a higher level of SRHR care are referred to the medical professionals at Odobu Health Center 2.

In 2020, YACOT was also proud to offer 12 sensitization sessions designed to create awareness of adolescent pregnancy. These sessions illuminated potential risks associated with teenage pregnancy, awareness of pregnancy warning signs, and referral pathways for safe delivery. The midwifery team at Odobu Health Center 2, according to Gatluak, recorded that, between April 2020 and April 2021, 28 pregnant people under the age of 18 were referred to the facility by YACOT. Six of these pregnant people were refugees, and 22 others were members of the host community. With continued funding for this program, YACOT aspires to continue to offer this in-demand service to young parents.

Gatluak added that most YACOT programs are women-led to create spaces that minimize stigma and promote open dialogue about SRH. In this spirit, YACOT team members also routinely ask community members what staff and/or healthcare professionals they would feel more comfortable with.

Looking forward, YACOT envisions expanding their programming throughout the remaining six zones of the Rhino Camp Refugee Settlement and beyond to meet the SRHR needs of community members – both displaced and host – in northwest Uganda.

YACOT invites you to follow their work on Facebook.

Sexual and reproductive health services remain critical during COVID-19

IAWG members and partners are producing clinical and programmatic guidance, assessments, policy papers, and statements to ensure continued prioritization of sexual and reproductive health and rights throughout COVID-19 response in humanitarian settings.