Volunteers for Development Assistance Uganda - VODA

Girls and women in rural Uganda face extreme gender inequality which is a cause and consequence of the high levels of sexual exploitation, incest and violence faced by many young girls and women. Young people have little access to sexual and reproductive health services and abortion is highly restricted. Under the most recent round of funding SAAF has supported the grassroots organization, VODA Uganda with their 'Strengthening Community Response against Unsafe Abortion' project to empower young people as change-makers in their schools and communities.

With training and support, peer educators have been educating friends about sexual and reproductive health and local health providers have been trained in providing safe services to women in need. Unsafe abortion was once a widespread problem in the area but through the power of peer education and by working with community leaders as well as youth, community attitudes toward abortion have been transformed. Deaths due to unsafe abortion have almost disappeared and community leaders and health providers are now calling for safe abortion to be made available for more young women in need. 

 
 
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Margaret's story

"I lost my daughter in 2011. She was called Gladys and she was 16. I didn’t know that she was pregnant. She tried to use local herbs to abort. I only found out about it three days later when she was bleeding very heavily. I tried to take her to the hospital but unfortunately she died on the way."


John's story

"I know it’s very good to save lives. Even God likes it. My religion is opposed to abortion but still I go to the pulpit and tell people about abortion because it is not good to see people dying."


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Tackling taboos about abortion

"The training I received from VODA has given me self-confidence. Before, I couldn’t stand in public. But now I can stand in the presence of even one thousand people and I can talk. I’m not shy anymore."


A volunteer's special understanding of how safe abortion can save lives

"Sometimes we receive cases related to incest. I thank VODA for coming to aid these desperate young girls who have had experiences like mine."


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Rape survivor accesses post-abortion care

"She took me to a place where a woman gave me some herbs... I was bleeding. Then the VODA counsellor came to my home and suggested to my grandmother that I should be taken for treatment."


Changing service providers attitudes

"These days, since people no longer die, people no longer get problems and I’m proud and happy because we help so many people." 


Educating peers about unsafe abortion

"If VODA wasn't here I think things would be very bad because as students, we did not have access to most of the information that we needed. We would have seen a big number of girls out of school because of unwanted pregnancies or unsafe abortion. "