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Presidential Initiative on Aids Strategy for Communication to Youth (PIASCY)

“I believe that it is good to empower the children with the information on PIASCY because they were ignorant and they will be helped to be aware of the dangers of AIDS, how it is transmitted and how it can be prevented” was the message Mr Julius Emoot, a P6 teacher, took back to school after his PIASCY orientation training at Kitante on 11-12 th August 2004. He is pleased that his school, Kampala Junior Academy, a private school, is a beneficiary of PIASCY, and that the government is using both private and public schools to reach all children.

Upon his return from training Mr Emoot orientated his colleague, Ms Edith Bakabulindi a P1 teacher, on PIASCY and all he had learnt; the following month they launched it together within the school. The school now uses their Friday assemblies to deliver the various messages, and expound on them, to all 375 pupils from Primary 1 to Primary 7. To date they have concluded four such assemblies.

Since the inception of Universal Primary Education in 1997 the number of children attending Primary school in Uganda has increased dramatically by 200%, to over 7.4 million in 2002. Various factors lead to primary school drop out, including early marriage, socio-economic activities and diseases such as STD’s and HIV/AIDS. PIASCY has been designed to assist children in staying safe, helping prevent HIV/AIDS and mitigating its effect, therefore enabling them to complete their primary education; funded, managed and coordinated by Uganda Program for Human and Holistic Development, a USAID funded project.

The PIASCY orientation eased the concerns Mr Emoot and Ms Bakabulindi had about addressing such issues with the children, and how they would handle it. They were prepared for the pupils initial response of apprehension and embarrassment and were able to ease this situation and empower the children to have open discussions that address many of the confusions that arise from the mixed messages society gives out. “I have heard on the radio about condoms. How and why are they used?” and “Religious Education teaches us that sex is a gift from God, why is it that you are denying us sex?” are examples.

“The children have a lot of information, however they lacked guidance and I feel that PIASCY will help us guide the children better” said Mrs Bakabulindi.

Photo of students

Pupils from Kampala Junior Academy

Due to the positive impact PIASCY has had across the school, plans are underway to form PIASCY clubs for the various levels to further assist the pupils in their quest for information and answers. These children now have access to information and guidance which was previously lacking, equipping them to face the challenges of their society with confidence.

“PIASCY has taught me how AIDS is spread and I have learnt how to abstain from sex and the importance of staying in school” Kata Matthias, P6

“From PIASCY I have learnt that staying in school can help me abstain from sex, I have also learnt a lot from reading the Teachers Handbooks and Young Talk” Nana Musana, P6