Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Uganda

  • How can education and training capacity in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) in Uganda be strengthened?
  • What processes determine and strengthen the sexual and reproductive health of people and their ability to claim their rights?
  • What political, cultural, social, economic and geographical factors support or inhibit access, availability, utilization and quality of SRHR services?

These are central questions in this four-year project led by Dr Auma Okwany from the International Institute of Social Studies in a consortium with Rutgers in the Netherlands, Makerere University School of Public Health (local lead) and Nsamizi Training Institute for Social Development in Uganda.

The overarching objective of the Strengthening Education and Training Capacity in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Uganda (SET-SRHR) is to address gaps and weaknesses in the SRHR landscape in Uganda by supporting human resource development and professionalization of SRHR service delivery in Uganda and by conducting academic and policy-relevant SRHR research. This € 3.7 million project runs until 30 November 2020 and is funded by Nuffic.

Sexual and Reproductive Health - SET-SRHR logo

Curriculum development, training, outreach and research

To address education and training gaps, the project has developed and is delivering an SRHR curriculum. The curriculum is age and gender sensitive and has been standardized and accredited. It has an academic track (targeting 300+ students in diploma, bachelor, master’s programmes at the two partner institutions) and a professional track (targeting 400+ SRHR professionals and practitioners).

In addition, the project is setting up Community of Practice (CoPs) networks for training, outreach and research at national and sub-national level. Called Utafiti na Kutenda (Research and Action), these CoPS aim to facilitate collaboration between diverse SRHR stakeholders and strengthen links between research, policy and practice.

Ten academic and policy-relevant studies are furthermore conducted within four themes:

  1. governance of SRHR
  2. ecology of SRHR and the effects of socio-cultural, economic, political and geographical factors
  3. rights-based approach to SRHR
  4. SRHR Service Provisioning 

These studies are informing the policy advocacy work of the project’s national CoP network and will be used to develop working papers, two edited volumes and several journal articles. The project furthermore funds 6 ongoing PhD fellows and 8 Masters scholarships.

SET-SHRH 1

Why is this research relevant?

Uganda faces multiple challenging demographic features which underscore the importance of SRHR policy and programmes. This includes one of the highest fertility rates in the world, high rates of teenage pregnancies as well as rising HIV/AIDS infection rates amongst adolescents.

Despite a range of state and non-state interventions, there remain significant gaps and weaknesses in the SRHR landscape in Uganda. This includes limited health care and social services, limited knowledge and capacity of service providers as well as gaps between research and policy. The SET-SRHR project aims to address these challenges through its multi-pronged approach involving research, strengthening of education and training, and fostering collaborations between SRHR stakeholders.

The project’s objectives support Uganda’s ambitions in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in particular SDG 3 (healthy lives for all) and SDG 5 (gender equality and empowerment of women and girls).

Collaboration and funding

This project is implemented in a consortium with:

The project team is composed of:

  • Dr Auma Okwany (ISS-EUR) – Overall Project Director
  • Dr Elizabeth Nabiwemba (MakSPH) – Project Director Uganda 
  • Dr Nicholas Awortwi (ISS-EUR) – Project Advisor
  • Dr Veronika Goussatchenko (ISS-EUR) - Project Manager
  • Ms. Linette Belo (Rutgers) – Project Manager, Administration
  • Mr. Camillo Antillon (Rutgers) – Project Manager, Operations 
  • Dr Christine Nalwadda (MakSPH) – Project Manager
  • Mr. Charles Otim (NTISD) – Project Manager
  • Ms. Olivia Nakisita (MakSPH) - Project Officer
  • Nuffic logo

    This € 3.7 million project is funded by the Netherlands Initiative for Capacity Development in Higher Education (NICHE) programme (NICHE-UGA-288) of NUFFIC.

Project Photos