Since its establishment in 1993, Uganda Youth Development Link (UYDEL) has contributed to enhancing the socio–economic transformation of disadvantaged street and slum young people through building their social assets to enable them become self-reliant. UYDEL has implemented various participatory work and project interventions targeting the most at-risk street and slum young people, aged 13-24 years, affected by trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, gender-based violence, child labour, and HIV and sexual reproductive health issues.
Goal: To enhance human capital development among the disadvantaged youth in Uganda.
Mission: To enhance socioeconomic transformation of disadvantaged young people through skills development for self-reliance.
Target group: Youth aged 10-24years who are vulnerable to exploitation and consequently to HIV/AIDS specifically: Children commercially sexually exploited, victims of trafficking and other worst forms of child labour; Slum youth; Street children; and youth from poor families.
Geographic Focus: Based in Uganda, UYDEL provides vocational skills training and rehabilitation services to vulnerable young people in the 8 Districts of Operation including Kampala, Mukono, Wakiso, Sembabule, Bukomansimbi, Gomba, Mityana and Mubende where we operate Youth friendly drop-in centres and safe spaces
Programs: UYDEL has programs in the following focus areas: 1) Child protection; 2) Alcohol, drug and substance abuse; 3) Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health; 4) Rehabilitation and livelihoods skills; 5) Child trafficking; 6) Commercial sexual exploitation of children and; 7) Child labour.
Experience with Participatory Development
UYDEL has designed, piloted, tested, utilized and integrated into its rehabilitation and reintegration programs three major participatory approaches to effectively, efficiently and responsibly engage vulnerable street and slum children and young people aged 13-24 years including:
1. Participatory Inquiry in Practice methodology to address NGO accountability as well as involve beneficiaries in advocacy and project design and implementation. 2. Self-Protection Peer Education Program toolkit to address child sexual abuse (used to build the capacity of 310 children and young people aged 13-24 years on knowledge and skills concerning child sexual abuse and peer- to-peer counseling - a further 747 children have since been reached using the peer-to-peer counseling process). 3. River of Life tool to track personal change stories of children and their families during reintegration after they leave the UYDEL rehabilitation programme.
Through these participatory approaches, the organization has been able to support and provide young people with spaces and platforms and also build their capacity to make informed choices so that they can voice their needs, share experiences and learn from each other without fear and with the confidence that they can create desired changes with the right attitude and perception, especially if they are equipped with the right information and services.
Participatory Approaches: Research Sexual Violence with Children and Young People
UYDEL has used the Participatory Inquiry in Practice (PIP) methodology with 20 vulnerable slum girls and young women in Kampala to provide them with the opportunity to debate, research and take action on subjects, which were of importance to them. One group of young girls and women, aged 13-24 years, chose to explore the subject of youth unemployment as many of them were engaging in commercial sex work for survival to meet basic needs; the other group chose urban crime as their research topic.
UYDEL has also used the Self-Protection Program toolkit on Child Sexual Abuse to build the capacity of 310 children and young people aged 13-24 years with knowledge and skills on child sexual abuse and peer-to-peer counselling. As a result, these 310 young people have reached out to another 747 children and young people with information and messages on child sexual abuse using peer to peer community-led education dialogues and have also linked and referred 200 children and young people. UYDEL has also developed and implemented a peer-to-peer community-led dialogue process as an innovative model, successfully that has the potential to be adapted for research and integrated into future participatory research processes with children and young people.
Name: Namwanje Diana
Age: 29 years
Namwanje is a social worker with three years’ work experience at UYDEL, who has rehabilitated and reintegrated over 500 vulnerable street and slum young people in Uganda. She has worked in the slum areas of Makindye division to identify, assess and enroll vulnerable street and slum young people aged 13-24 years. She has provided individual counselling and group counselling sessions, interacted with families of the young people and has used evidence–based approaches and methodologies to address the psychosocial, health, physical, and economic needs and other challenges faced by the children, young people and their families. She is a technical trainer in the delivery and supervision of the Self-Protection program addressing child sexual abuse.
Name: Ms. Lunkuse Joanitah
Age: 24 years
Lunkuse who has grown up in the slums of Kampala and has interacted and worked with as well as interviewed adolescent girls and young women, aged 13-24 years, affected by sexual abuse and exploitation. She is currently part of a team of 2 researchers that is undertaking a study on building resilience among adolescent girls and young women engaging in transactional sex in rural Uganda - ‘Hearing from Adolescent Girls and Young Women’. She is also currently implementing a project targeting slum young people to strengthen their socio-economic capacity and improve their access to sexual reproductive health rights information and services.
Name: Ms. Nabirye Apofia
Age: 23 years
Nabirye has grown up in the slums of Kampala and has witnessed, identified, counselled and referred fellow young people who have been sexually abused to the UYDEL drop-in centre. She is currently one of the trained Peer Educators in the Self Protection Program on Child Sexual Abuse and has worked with over 100 peers, facilitating dialogues on child sexual abuse using this toolkit. I have also referred about 20 fellow peers affected by sexual exploitation to the UYDEL drop-in centre for further management and counselling and enrollment into the rehabilitation program.