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Africa » Uganda
February 21st 2022
Published: February 23rd 2022
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Today was my last Monday morning meeting with the ladies. They have an additional volunteer, from the area, that joined the team this week. She is going to focus on results based reporting which will be helpful to Hope when she works on grant applications. The other volunteer, Kanifa has been helping with grants as well and just completed one related to the need for safe abortions.

Uganda has high maternal mortality with unsafe abortions being one of the major causes. Young people are particularly vulnerable to unsafe abortion with the addition of sigma associated with premarital sex and pregnancy. Under current law, abortions are illegal unless the woman’s life is at risk, she has HIV, or a few other conditions. But, the laws and policies surrounding abortion in Uganda are unclear and are often interpreted inconsistently. Because of this many doctors and midwives are hesitant to perform them. Doctors and midwives have been put in prison for 6 years, women for 2-6 years even when the abortion was within the guidelines. Contraception is the best solution to this issue, but that continues to be an uphill battle. Rural women have the biggest unmet need for contraception, more than twice
of the urban women. The rural women are also the most at risk of male influence. Many of the men believe that contraceptives can cause health problems for them, such as infertility and cancer, while others feel that contraceptive will cause the women to have extramarital affairs.

In the afternoon we met with our women's group and discussed different ways they can market their small businesses. They do not have a marketing budget so we focused on low cost options like finding brand ambassadors, building a client list, and creating a small group of business owners (similar to our group) that they can meet and learn from each other. Also, for the ones on with a smartphone we got them onto Facebook and Instagram.

After class I had dinner with a retired teacher from Virginia who has been traveling with the same tour guide, Catie, that I used for several of my trips. There are very few female tour guides in Uganda (and she owns the company to boot!). Maureen's daughter lives in Djibouti which is why is in in this region. She was a very interesting to speak to and it was nice to be able to learn more about Catie. I was surprised she was able to keep her business afloat during the extremely long and strict COVID shut down. There were almost no international travelers and Ugandan's couldn't travel anyways due to the restrictions on movement.

I finished the evening at home with the ladies. Irene was DJ and Hope and I were the entertainment with our dance moves. I am going to miss my evenings with the ladies!

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