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With all the excitement of Sekukuulu whispering in the streets of Uganda, the 17th of
December 2020, found us in the company of Adolescents Girls and Young women
(AGYWs) from different grass root communities of the country for the Launch of the
HERVOICE FUND initiative at Hotel Africana in Kampala.


The initiative is sponsored by ViiV Healthcare Limited and the Global Fund and; is
managed by Y+ Network in thirteen (13) countries of Sub-Saharan Africa that face
the hugest burden of HIV/AIDS especially new HIV infections among Adolescent Girls
and Young women. The initiative aims to effectively engage AGYWs in policy
development and advocacy to influence health decisions, policies and access to essential
HIV/SRHR services which are vital for their well being.


The HER VOICE FUND initiative is currently implemented in Uganda by Community
Based Organisations; COPISED Uganda in Bugiri district, KADAfrica in Kabarole
district, EDEA Uganda in Kamuli district, ARYA Uganda in Kitgum district, IDIWA
Uganda in Iganga district, and Trans Youth Initiative in Mbarara District.
While launching the initiative, our team leader Nicholas Niwagaba recognized the role of
community Based Organisations in amplifying the voices of Adolescents Girls and
Young Women. He called upon the Government, donors and the private sector to invest
in strengthening community led initiatives that support CBOs in implementing programs
that unleash the hidden potentials of girls and young women to take up leadership in
changing the HIV Response.


Martha Clara Nakato who is the Her Voice Fund Ambassador for Uganda stressed that;
“Girls and women are the center of change. We are leading and owning our spaces, We
are speaking out and making leaders accountable on protecting our future”. She further
added that Girls’ rights are human rights and need to be protected and respected at all
times.


During the launch, AGYWs highlighted that structural and Gender barriers remain a
stumbling block to access to HIV Prevention services and other reproductive Health
Services. They demanded the government and partner agencies to step up and strengthen
programs that address gender inequalities, social-cultural norms and oppressing laws that
expose them to violence and discrimination.
“Everyone needs to silence practices that deprive girls their human rights. We are not
sources of wealth, we have dreams that need to be fulfilled” Winnie one of the Her Voice
Fund Beneficiaries.

“We want to live in safe homes and cities. No girl wants to get pregnant when still young,
No girl dreams of getting infected with HIV, No girls wants to be raped or harassed on
the streets” said Sheirat Namayanja, Miss Y+ 2020.
The launch also brought forth the past Her Voice Fund Grant Recipients who shared
experiences about how the 1st phase of the grant changed the lives of girls and young
women they reached.
“Thru the Her voice Fund, we organized the first stakeholders meeting on addressing
Sexual Gender Based Violence in Kalangala district. During that meeting, Girls broke the
silence and named the leaders who were sexually abusing and violating their rights”
Namusoke Asia, People in Need Agency.
“The Her Voice Fund initiative enabled us to form a movement of AGYW leaders, we
now have online and interactive platforms where we routinely catch up, discuss
challenges that affect us and we are also able to support one another”. Muzira Diazy
Youth Equality Centre.
While closing the ceremony, Our Programs Manager Olgah Daphynne Namukuzza
echoed the need to effectively engage boys and men addressing of gender inequalities
and closing the tap on new HIV Infections among young girls. She noted that; “Men who
are possible perpetrators in violating girls and women’s rights shouldn’t be left behind”.

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