The camp involved giving out free condoms to the community, free HIV testing and counseling and performances.
MPIGI - Several youths poured into Nsangi trading centre in Mpigi district armed with brooms, hoes and forks to offer community service as a strategy of reaching out to fellow young people on sexual reproduction health education.
Clad in black and white T-shirts emblazoned with the message ‘Life Shoes-2016 Health Camp’, they swept the roads, collected rubbish and cleared clogged drainage channels and trenches.
The group was accompanied by a music explosion on a mobile van that attracted the locals.
They used this chance to share information on sexual reproductive health and advising residents to live responsible lives if they are to realize their dreams and become responsible citizens.
The main event, third of its kind, was held at Hanna Mixed School in Nsangi.
Youths attend a session during the camp. (Credit: Jeff Lule)
The camp involved giving out free condoms to the community, free HIV testing and counseling and performances from local artists and comedians.
The week-long event was organized by Reach a Hand Uganda (RAHU), a youth-led volunteer organisation, supported by The Segal Family Foundation, RutgersWPF and MTV-Staying Alive Foundation, UNESCO, Sexual Reproductive Health Uganda (SRHU), Standard Chartered Bank, and Events Warehouse, among others.
It brought together 500 youths from secondary schools and higher institutions from different countries in the region.
RAHU team leader Humphrey Nabimanya asked the youth to live more meaningful lives rather than engaging in non-developmental things to avoid regrets. "Don't depend on this world. Let the world depend on you because you're the master not the servant of this world.”
He said this year's theme ‘Life Shoes-2016 Health Camp’ was aimed at inspiring young people to analyze their lives and reflect on what they want to do and their contribution to society.
"This will fundamentally hinge on their reproductive health and the informed health choices they can make," he said.
RAHU's Humphrey Nabimanya speaks to students at Hana Mixed School. (Credit: Jeff Lule)
Nana Kagga, a petroleum engineer, talked to youth after succeeding in life. She shared her personal story
Community service and music helps to attract more people who might not be able to access such useful information in rural areas and some urban settings like slums, he added.
Nabimanya said this helps them to make informed choices and shun bad groups and ill-practices like reckless sexual intercourse, drug abuse and gambling.
"Many children get spoilt because they lack guidance," he added.
The executive director of National Guidance and Empowerment Network of People Living with HIV/Aids, Uganda (NGEN+) Rtd Maj. Rubaramira Ruranga took the youth through his life as an HIV positive person for the last 31 years.
"Make informed decisions in life by not making mistakes as young people who have access to all kinds of information on your reproductive health and rights," advised Ruranga.
Mona Hebert, the country director DSW Uganda, encouraged the young people to be focused, learn, respect time and be inspired by the different successful people.
Nana Kagga, a petroleum engineer, actress, movie director and photographer, said youth need to use their time to be more productive and aim higher.
Esther Kalenzi, the founder of 40 Days Over 40 Smiles, a charity organization, encouraged young people to always have a positive attitude "to what we always consider as obstacles or barriers and rise above them to make a difference".
The event featured different performances highlighting problems like early pregnancy, drug abuse, peer pressure and cross-generational sex.
The camp targeted youth between 15 to 25 years, aiming at creating behavioral change awareness campaign on sexual, reproductive, human rights and HIV/Aids.