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On top of the sun, the east has been closely related with wisdom for all years on end. In Uganda, it has the extra credit of being home to the Nile, the World’s longest river. It is further credited for Specioza Wandera Kazibwe and Rebecca Kadaga, Uganda’s first female Vice President and Speaker of Parliament respectively.

With all this shine, the East should be an enviable place but it is marred by SRHR challenges. The region has the highest rates of teenage pregnancy, standing at 31.6%. Child marriages and high HIV rates are among the other challenges the region faces. It was therefore good ground to take our advocacy against HIV among young people, finding a new Mr and Miss Y+ for the region.

In our community dialogue, a total number of 70 stakeholders came together. They were very involved in discussions on empowering YPLHIV and improving youth-friendly services at health facilities. The highlight though was the district health officers, who committed to putting up an enforcement effort to track, support and control acts of stigma and discrimination in the community.

We then proceeded with a school outreach at Majanji Secondary school where the young people committed and said

“As peers, we are ready to make it happen through supporting and engaging with diverse groups of YPLHIV&AGYW about their experiences, needs, and expectations of receiving care and treatment”

On that day, we reached a total number of 250 young people. That would have been enough to put us to bed but we had a fire still burning in us so we moved into another day.

We started with a health camp and flash mob where we conducted activities like condom distribution and demonstration HIV testing and counseling in Mawelo market area. We were able to reach 450 community people, 210 of which tested for HIV, 7 of them tested positive.  26,000 condoms were distributed. We also tested 67 people for Hepatitis B and 5 were positive.  

Finally, we held the mega Eastern Auditions in the company of energetic young people and well-wishers. With 52 contestants all lined up, with Okiror Benjamin and Nabula Mariam taking home the Mr and Miss Y+ crowns for the region respectively.

That was the colourful audition that brought us to the end of the regional tours. We are now well buckled up and heading into the full gear to bring you the grandest Y+ Finale yet.

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