An assessment of school interventions in protecting adolescent students against risky sexual behaviours in Kampala and Luwero Districts
An assessment of school interventions strategies implemented in the last three years to prevent risky sexual behaviours among adolescents; was conducted in Mazzi and Kalinabiri Secondary Schools in Luwero and Kampala Districts respectively. The study sought to describe the existing intervention strategies, assess their relevancy, establish the challenges encountered and suggest alternative intervention strategies to protect adolescents. Qualitative methods of data collection, analysis and presentation were complemented by quantitative methods. A total of 102 respondents including 92 students and 10 key informants; responded to interview schedules, interview guides and participated in focus group discussions to generate information. Four focus group discussions each composed of 8 students, were conducted to generate additional information and for verification. Secondary data was also reviewed for instance timetables and Presidential Initiative on AIDS Strategy for Communication to Youth (PIASCY) handbooks. The study revealed that the schools had initiated interventions to protect adolescents against risky sexual behaviours i.e. they had clubs, class/education sessions, dedicated teachers and budgets. Students had good knowledge and positive attitudes towards the ABC approach for instance 88% mentioned that abstinence was the safest method of protection, though 39% said that it was the easiest to practice. Teachers, literature, peers and external resource persons and organizations; were mention as main sources of information. Peer participation and skills acquisition among students were evident and rewarding in both schools. The interventions seemed to work better in Kalinabiri S.S because of a proactive school administration, availability of resources (such as reading materials, teachers trained in adolescent health related issues and external resource persons), and use of the national framework i.e. the PISACY Program. The interventions were affected by:- competing school programs limiting resources to adolescent health programmes, difficulty in sustaining the interests of students especially the boys, inadequate attention to sexually active students, less empowered girls in Mazzi who during the study were visibly timid and unassertive, inadequate role modeling in the rural setting, irregular external support, limited student participation in planning and evaluation of interventions, and inadequate monitoring and assessments by the Ministry of Education and the rural school administration. The study recommends that interventions targeting adolescents should be aligned to the national education framework i.e. integrated in a curriculum, consider in the design the needs of the target group including the minority, vary the content and packaging, and encourage periodic monitoring and evaluations for improvement. There should be mechanisms to build the capacity and motivate teachers, and to coordinate external service providers. The PIASCY Programme should be scaled up to other schools especially those in the rural areas. Poverty eradication and development of essential infrastructures such as schools, roads, communication and health facilities should be given priority by Government to improve access to information and health care, and role modeling particularly in the rural settings.