By Esther Platteeuw
Quote on a classroom wall
Shop in Jinja Town
Focus group in Jinja Town
Boy preparing 'rolex'
Quote on a classroom wallQuote on a classroom wall in Wairaka – From January to March 2017 I conducted my fieldwork in Uganda to examine the dynamics of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) education on sexual practices and strategies in everyday lives of youth in Jinja District, eastern Uganda. In the beginning of my stay, I contextualized the field youth live in and what stand different actors take with respect to relationships and sex before marriage. This photo summarizes what youth told me about what school teachers advise them: “pre-marital sex is risky” and “choose to abstain”. The latter is in accordance with the ‘ABC’-campaign of the government in fight against HIV/AIDS. The ‘A’ stands for ‘abstinence’, ‘B’ for ‘be faithful’, and ‘C’ for ‘condom use’, whereby schools emphasize abstinence.
Shop in Jinja TownShop with office stationaries in Jinja Town – Besides the dislike of schools towards relationships and sex before marriage, also religious leaders from churches and mosques preach “no sex before marriage”, and, moreover, parents too are against it because they tell youth “not to spoil their future”. The latter refers to parents’ fear for school drop-out of their son or, in particular, their daughter when she gets pregnant.
Focus group in Jinja TownAfter a focus group discussion with youth of Jinja Town – Youth told me that, against the norms of school, religious leaders, and their parents, they have relationships, in most cases more than one at the same moment, and practice sex, whether or not in secret.
Boy preparing 'rolex'A boy preparing a ‘rolex’ (rolled eggs), which are two baked eggs with some cabbage and onion rolled into a ‘chapati’ (i.e. flat pancake). – In regard to gender relations, both boys and girls told me that it is the boy who approaches a girl, expresses his love for her, and is the one who initiates a relationship or sex. Nowadays, sometimes a girl takes over this role, however, in most cases she would be seen as a prostitute or someone who has many boyfriends. Which is happening, according to girls, but which is not accepted by society.