RAHU was founded in 2010 but registered in 2011. It started out as a school outreach program with the vision of empowering young people to empower other young people. The focus was mainly on HIV/AIDs, creating awareness on prevention, stigma, testing, counseling and other areas concerned with HIV. As time went on, focus was put on sexual reproductive health as a whole targeting young people.
The strengths of RAHU lie in its behaviour change communication approach. RAHU interacts with communities through peer education, dialogue and various events, we engage with community stakeholders and young people and mobilize them for advocacy, uptake of information and services through our Peer Educators Academy. networks of young people from different areas of life and civil societies to address the need of sexual reproductive health and rights.
Through our various programs and projects we have been able to influence and create an impact in the community by aiding meaningful youth participation at all levels like in Ministry or Government entities and private sector because we found out that people do not know how to engage young people, to place young people at the forefront. We also don't work in isolation because we appreciate that to create change one cannot work alone.
RAHU’s greatest achievement has been in solidifying our programming, for example, the Peer Educators’ Academy, U Decide and the other partnered programs like Better Life For Girls all aim at creating a movement of young empowered people through peer education. And through these programs we have seen young people all over Uganda in Karamoja, West Nile, Central Uganda, Western Uganda empowered with knowledge on reproductive health issues like access to information and services on family planning, HIV/AIDs, teenage pregnancy and early marriages among other areas.
Currently, we are exploring and entering new territories through our program of MenPlus where we have men as champions in the family planning movement and advocacy, putting them at the forefront of contraception advocacy and uptake. Through this programme, we have had men support their spouses to take on family planning but also engage in by getting vasectomies. So we are not only engaging with young people to create change in society but also men have joined the movement.
UDecide is a project that we are particularly proud of. It is currently being piloted in Mbarara under nine health centers, in Hoima and Kasese and is soon to be expanded to the West Nile region. This project focuses on the empowerment of young people with sexual reproductive health information through a peer to peer approach. We want these young people to be able to make informed individual decisions without being influenced by society.
Under this program we also create demand generation by increasing awareness on the availability of services hence causing people to seek out these services.
We also want to empower these young people with more than knowledge of SRHR but also economic empowerment where they can be able to financially sustain themselves. Through our partnership with Unilever and AFRIpads, we have introduced the Edu-prenership aspect to allow young people a livelihood but also improve access of health and hygiene products like sanitary pads, deodorants, detergent yet receive and share information on sexual reproductive health at the same time.
Success for RAHU has been through but not limited to our peer educators’ movement where we currently have over 40 districts with a footprint of a peer educator. Additionally, seeing our peer educators able to influence in different sectors in itself is a success. Presently we have our peer educators like Ssebanja Vincent working as an Opening Manager at Cafe Javas a role he was promoted to while at the restaurant’s Kenyan branch, others working in the auditor general’s office, UNFPA, local government and various NGOs. And to us, this means more area of exposure and more young people being empowered with knowledge by these peer educators.