Get Up Speak Out! (GUSO)
Get Up Speak Out! (GUSO)
Get Up Speak Out for Youth Rights (GUSO) strengthened civil society organisations to effectively improve young people’s poor sexual and reproductive health and rights, in seven countries: Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Pakistan and Uganda. Aidsfonds focused its activities in Kenya, Uganda and Malawi and worked specifically with self-organisations of (young) people and women living with HIV.
Funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the five-year programme ran between 2016 – 2020. It was developed by a consortium of partner organisations consisting of Rutgers, CHOICE, Dance4life, IPPF, Simavi and Aidsfonds.
Get Up Speak Out aimed to empower young people, especially girls and young women to realize their SRHR and create positive mindsets towards young people’s sexuality in the communities where they live.
Aidsfonds worked specifically to ensure that the rights and needs of young people living with HIV are fully integrated in sexuality education, health services and sexual and reproductive health policies. Meaningful youth participation is a key strategy to make sure the voice of young people is heard.
The end beneficiaries of Get Up Speak Out are young people. By the end of the programme, in the seven countries 6,99 million sexual and reproductive health services were provided to young people and 4,23 million young people were reached with SRHR and HIV information.
Young people – including young people living with HIV - face high risks for sexual and reproductive health problems and rights violations. They lack access to sexuality information and services and policies are often not well aligned to the reality of young people.
The GUSO consortium has built a strong base of partner organisations in the seven countries of interventions. Get Up Speak Out builds on the successes and experience from the previous Access Knowledge and Services (ASK) and Unite for Body Rights (UfBR) projects which were implemented in the same countries through alliances of complementing partners.
Results from the Get Up Speak Out programme ->
Aidsfonds' impact in Kenya, Malawi and Uganda:
1. Young women access SRHR and HIV information and commodities
Age-appropriate SRHR and HIV education
Through peer educators and community health entrepreneurs, we provided age-appropriated SRHR and HIV education and information for 110,000 adolescent girls and young women out of school. Even more young people we reached through digital interventions. We ensured access to health commodities and prevention services, like condoms, HIV (self-)testing and PREP. Over 230,000 services and 750,000 condoms were provided.
Pool of champions
We worked with caretakers, religious leaders and teachers to reduce stigma and gender inequality and ensure a supportive environment for adolescent girls and young women. This resulted in a pool of champions that will continuously fight for adolescent girls and young women’s rights.
Our advocacy for quality comprehensive sexuality education and youth-friendly services contributed to better stocked youth-friendly services (reduced stock-outs of HIV and SRHR commodities), stronger representation of young women’s SRHR needs in the national AIDS Strategic Framework, and meaningful youth participation in District AIDS Committees, amongst others.
960 raised aspirations for the future
In Uganda, young people were trained to become community health entrepreneurs. As such they deliver SRHR and HIV information and services in their communities including access to Sayana Press, an injectable contraceptive piloted in this project. It impacted their lives hugely as they are now able to financially take care of others, have raised aspirations for the future and improved their health.
2. Young people living with HIV access treatment
To improve the continuum of care for young people living with HIV, we invested in improving access to quality youth-friendly services. New evidence, e.g. from the Stigma Index, informed dialogues with health facilities, trainings of service providers and advocacy. We strengthened ART adherence through quality peer education, referrals and support groups.
3. Young people living with HIV lead change
Throughout the programme, we promoted young people living with HIV leadership and facilitated young people’s participation in relevant (inter)national conferences and seminars. Youth-led partners strengthened their organizational capacity through trainings, exchange visits and improved financial systems and organisations policies.
Trainers Lab: find SRHR experts in your region
Trainers Lab offers an online international market place for local NGOs to easily find and hire local SRHR professional trainers, to improve interventions or strengthen organisations capacity. Initiated by Aidsfonds and developed under GUSO, it is a successful example of a power shift from Northern to Southern leadership.
Y+ Beauty Pageant tackles stigma
Under the GUSO programme the Y+ Beauty Pageant in Uganda developed towards the huge national anti-stigma campaign it is now. The contest is not about looks, it’s about empowerment of young people living with HIV to speak out and become role models for so many others. This is a perfect example of what youth community leadership can bring.
Empowerment according to young people
Do you see yourself as empowered? What does it mean to be empowered? Why is it important for a young person to be empowered? Questions only young people themselves can give an answer to. Watch their vlogs and get inspired!
Our youth club decided to be different
After start-up support, this Malawian youth club became self-sufficient and independent. With the profits from their vegetable garden, they organize community meetings to advocate for the SRHR of young people, among others. “Projects that directly target young people are very rare.” Aidsfonds does, through our valuable partner Coalition of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (COWLHA).
Towards the future
Aidsfonds is proud to be part of the GUSO programme, with its legacy of improved meaningful youth participation in community-, district-, and national structures, better SRHR and HIV services and a pool of strong peer educators, peer buddies, and SRHR champions.
In its future programmes, Aidsfonds will build on the results of the GUSO programme and will continuously invest in youth-led organisations.