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Straight Talk Foundation, 2009 Annual Report

Straight Talk Foundation, 2009 Annual Report

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"In 2009, our sixteenth year of work, STF strove purposefully
to do more for more people and to do it better. Quantity (reach) and quality were our themes. Complacency is not an option. We do some of the best work in adolescence and communication for social change on the globe. But it is not enough as we face rising HIV prevalence in Uganda and an
increasingly unequal world..."
"In 2009, our sixteenth year of work, STF strove purposefully
to do more for more people and to do it better. Quantity (reach) and quality were our themes. Complacency is not an option. We do some of the best work in adolescence and communication for social change on the globe. But it is not enough as we face rising HIV prevalence in Uganda and an
increasingly unequal world..."

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Published by: Straight Talk Foundation on Mar 29, 2010
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Report Design: Michael eB.

In 2009 Straight Talk
Foundation (STF) produced
over 12 million newspapers
and 5000 half-hour radio
shows for adolescents and
adults. It reached over 255,000
young people, parents and
teachers through its face-to-
face work.
STF’s materials are the main
and often only source of
afrming, values-based
and scientifcally-accurate
information on HIV, sexuality
and growing up in most
Ugandan communities.
STF sends its materials to
18,600 schools, 1780 health
centres, and 1040 churches
and mosques, and 1600 CBOs.
It also works with 450 NGOs.
STF creates “conversations”
to address the drivers of HIV
epidemic and bring about
social change.
In 2009 it began a new focus
on young positives and
adolescents with special needs.
In 2008 STF had 77 staff and interns in its head office
in Kampala. However, with teams constantly traveling
upcountry, it was never possible to get them all together.
The above photo was taken in January 2010. In total STF
has 144 staff across Uganda.
Plot 4 Acacia Avenue, Kololo,
P.O. Box 22366 Kampala, Uganda,
Tel: (256 31) 262030, 262031,
Fax: (256 41) 534858,
Email: info@straighttalkuganda.org,
Website: www.straight-talk.or.ug,
General Scribd site:
STF Board of DiRecToRS
With funds from Dutch NGo cordaid, in
2009 STF started to work with one of
Uganda’s poorest and most marginalized
groups, the Batwa. Former forest people
who are landless, members of this group
are sometimes called “pygmies”.
Batwa women are often sexually exploited
by people they call Abaturaja or “citizens”,
a reference to non-Batwa.
“Abaturaja come to us at night for sex
and give us HiV. We try to stay away from
them,” says Ventina, the Batwa queen.
“Another problem is that we do not guide
our children about growing up. This is
because each one of us cares mostly
about food for survival.”
“The Batwa have shallow knowledge about
HiV,” notes Quinta Apio, STF’s special
needs offcer who spent time with the
Batwa in Kisoro in 2009. “Poverty causes
unsafe sex as they have something-for-
something love.”
Under the cordaid grant 2009-12,
Quinta and her team will meet two Batwa
communities in Kisoro every quarter. At
right is Ventina (with white beads) and her
group of Batwa.
chair: Aggrey
Kibenge, Principal
Secretary, MoeS
oliva Muhumuza,
children’s PS
Dr Frank Kaharuza,
Director, Research,
Rev Gideon
christian Aid
Justina Kihika,
Anne Akia
Fiedler, country
Pathfnder Int’
charles odere,
Advocate, Lex
Mondo Kyateka,
commissioner for
Youth, MoGLSD
ABC Abstain,Befaithful,Condomuse
ARVs Anti-Retrovirals
ASRH Adolescentsexualandreproductivehealth
BCC Behaviourchangecommunication
CBO Community-basedOrganization
DHS DemographicandHealthSurvey
ECP Emergencycontraceptionpills
FGC Femalegenitalcutting
FGD Focusgroupdiscussion
FP Familyplanning
GYC GuluYouthCentre
HCT HIVcounsellingandtesting
IDI In-depthinterview
IDP Internallydisplacedperson
KYC KitgumYouthCentre
LRA Lord’sResistanceArmy
MoES MinistryofEducationandSports
MOU MemorandumofUnderstanding
NGO Non-governmentalorganisation
OVC Orphansandvulnerablechildren
PEP Post-exposureprophylaxis
PMTCT Preventionofmother-to-childtransmission
PSI PopulationServicesInternational
PWDs Peoplewithdisabilities
4Rs Runyankole/Rukiga/Rutoro/Runyoro
SGBV Sexualandgender-basedviolence
SRH SexualandReproductiveHealth
STF StraightTalkFoundation
STI SexuallyTransmittedInfection
UGX Ugandashillings
UHSBS UgandaHIV/AIDSSero-behaviouralSurvey
UPE UniversalPrimaryEducation
USE UniversalSecondaryEducation
In Uganda 12% of girls are married by age 15
and 46% by 18. Married girls face a multitude
of challenges. They usually have less mobility,
less access to media and less autonomy in
decision making than unmarried girls or
married women. They are often isolated from
their peers.
Because they have regular sex that is rarely
protected, they are at high risk of HIV infection:
89% of ever married girls aged 15-19 have
started child-bearing.
Julie Wiltshire,
Director, STF,
President, STF,
is a Ugandan NGO, set up in 1997. It grew out of a
teen newspaper, Straight Talk, started in 1993.
Today it practises COmmUNICaTION
FOr SOCIal CHaNGe. Its main focus is
STF also supports pareNTS and TeaCHerS
to have safer and healthier sexual lives and to help
adolescent have safer transitions to adulthood.
STF adheres to a KNOw yOUr epIDemIC-
KNOw yOUr reSpONSe approach and
follows a SexUal HealTH promotion model.
In 2009 STF worked in 17 laNGUaGeS. STF
communicates through raDIO, prINT and
STF’s is concerned for the well-being of all
adolescents and their families. However, it is
particularly concerned about the most-at-risk,
especially GIrlS, OrpHaNS, adolescents
living wITH HIV or with SpeCIal NeeDS,
and adolescents in complex environments such as
Message from the President 2
Milestones in 2009 3
Letters to STF print 11
Topi & distribution 12
Talking points 13
ST and YT at a glance 14
Radio for youth 24
Radio for parents 25
Radio for the Pokot 26
Table of Contents
Radio topics & partnerships 27
Radio maps and letters 28-29
Outreach and training 34
Youth centres 38
Sexual violence & PEP 40
Milestone: December
2009, the first Young Talk in
Girls in a secondary school in Kisoro. Schooling is a precarious experience.
Currently just 4% of girls in Uganda complete secondary school. Schooling is
hugely beneficial, even if the quality of education is not high. In-school girls have
lower reported rates of sexual activity than out-of-school girls.
Population Council, 2009. The adolescent experience in- depth: using data to indentify and reach the
most vulnerable young people: Uganda 2006.
Wiltshire to be our new Executive
Director. Formerly Country Manager
for Marie Stopes and Chief of Party
for Engender Health, we welcome
her wisdom and insight.
For all we were able to do in 2009,
we thank the adolescents and youth
who consumed what we offered
them with eagerness. Over 50,000
wrote letters to us, often telling us
their most private worries, thereby
contributing to the iterative loop
that makes our work good.
We also thank parents and teachers,
most of whom bravely see us as
their allies, and our colleagues in
the Ministries of Health, Gender
and Education and at the Uganda AIDS Commission.
We thank our board for its oversight and mourn
the loss of our friend and board member, Dorothy
Oulanyah, a distinguished expert on orphans and
vulnerable children. STF is also deeply grateful to
donors who, through many changes of staff over the
years, recognized the value of a steady supply of
scientifcally-accurate and culturally-sensitive sexuality
and HIV education materials.
The most inspiring book for STF in 2009 was the
classic Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire
(1970). It reminds us not to carry out “banking”
education, viewing benefciaries as empty passive
objects in which we “deposit” our knowledge. “Banking
education resists dialogue,” wrote Freire. ”Problem-
posing education regards dialogue as indispensable to
the act of cognition which unveils reality.”
This report describes how STF used problem-solving
education and dialogue in
2009 to help adolescents
become creative and
critical thinkers. We did
this with humility. For, as
Freire says: “How can I
dialogue if I always project
ignorance onto others and
never perceive my own?”
Thank you for reading it
Catharine Watson
n 2009, our sixteenth year of
work, STF strove purposefully
to do more for more people and
to do it better. Quantity (reach)
and quality were our themes.
Complacency is not an option.
We do some of the best work in
adolescence and communication
for social change on the globe. But
it is not enough as we face rising
HIV prevalence in Uganda and an
increasingly unequal world.
As we endeavored to “do the right
thing, do it right and do enough of
it”, we launched three new radio
shows. About 250,000 adolescents
and adults, previously isolated by
language, could now ask their own
questions and tell their own stories.
For Straight Talk and Young Talk newspapers, we
increased print runs. As school enrolment rises, these
papers remain the main sexuality and HIV education
materials for Uganda’s eight million adolescents.
Our outreach team blazed trails in Karamoja. There
grandmothers told us that, after the age of 40, they
feel sex is undignifed and encourage their husbands
to seek other partners--we never stop learning that
sex is culturally-specifc. In Amuru, Moyo and Adjumani
districts, we opened mini youth centres, which in just
fve months reached over 20,000 youth. STF now has
fve youth centres, with our longstanding sites in Gulu
and Kitgum reaching over 60,000 youth in 2009.
The life stage of adolescence is lengthening in
Africa, as young people take longer to make key
life transitions. Uganda is part of a new trend of
“postponement of frst intercourse in females
and earlier sexual activity among males”
(Sauvain-Dugerdil, 2008). Among other things,
girls are staying in school longer and marrying
later, so more are starting sex before marriage.
These subtle changes contribute to equally
complex shifts in the HIV epidemic.
In 2009, such changes meant that we avidly
and endlessly re-tooled our approach. We had
learning afternoons with outside speakers
and drew up policies on child protection and
young positives. We designed quality checklists
for our radio and print materials and new log
books to capture our work in the feld.
Staff changes contributed to enhanced quality
as well. We appointed directors for northern
Uganda and special projects and recruited Julie
Message from the President
The Danish Minister
for Development, Ulla
Toernaes, visits STF
Gulu Youth Centre
Milestones in 2009
STF starts
intensive work
with people with
STF recruits a
young positive’s
officer, Nuru
Kisitu, who was
born with HIV.
STF launches a
radio show for
youth in Madi.
Robert Chaciga
is the presenter.
Public health
nurse Julie
becomes STF’s
new executive
STF signs a
$1 million three year
agreement with
the Royal Danish
Embassy to support
Tree Talk
STF launches youth
radio shows in
Lepthur and Pokot.
Joyce Nakia is the
Lepthur presenter.
Girls in a secondary school listen
pensively to an STF mobiliser, a
Straight Talk open before them.
Of girls 15-19, 46% are out of
school, 31% in primary school and
22% in secondary school. School
is protective against HIV for girls
because it protects them from
early marriage.
Most sexually active adolescents
are married. Only a quarter of
never married girls aged 15-19
have ever had sex.
Population Council, 2009. The adolescent
experience in- depth: using data to
indentify and reach the most vulnerable
young people: Uganda 2006.
TF newspapers have been present
in secondary schools since 1993.
STF‘s work has become part of the
fabric of life for Ugandan adolescents.
Most teachers cannot remember a time
before Straight Talk and Young Talk,
STF’s papers for secondary and primary
schools respectively.
Since October 1993, Straight Talk has
come out ten times a year (Nov-Dec is
a double issue; January a calendar). The
same is true for Young Talk, launched
at Luwero Boys Primary School in
February 1998. This steadfastness has
won STF the trust of adolescents and the
educational establishment.
In 2009 STF sent 30 copies of Straight
Talk to each of 3108 secondary schools
and 28 copies of Young Talk to each
of 13,111 primary schools. Secondary
schools have a population of about 1.1
million students; the three upper primary
classes hold about 2,320,000 pupils.
Thus, in 2009, there was one Young Talk
for every six pupils and one Straight Talk
for every 11 students.
STF newspapers are highly cost effcient.
In 2009, it cost just UGX 56 (US$0.03)
to print one Straight Talk and UGX
47 (US$0.02) to print one Young Talk.
Excluding salaries but including postage,
Straight Talk costs UGX 280 million a
year and Young Talk UGX 385 million. If
just 50% of pupils read one newspaper a
year, the cost per learner reached once
would be UGX 194 or US$0.10. If salaries
and overheads are included, the cost per
young person reached is about twice that
amount, similar to the US$0.25 found by
an analysis of STF Print by Family Health
International in 2006.
Newspaper/print material Issues Print run Copies/2009
Calendar (ST and YT) 2 150,000 each 300,000
Straight Talk 10 average 312,000 3,120,000
Straight Talk in local languages 5 100,000 x 4 plus 1 x 60,000 460,000
Young Talk 10 average 506,200 5,062,000
Farm Talk 3 150,000 450,000
Tree Talk 3 20,000 x2 + 200,000 240,000
Teacher Talk (three for primary; one for post-primary) 4 300,000 1,200,000
Everyday Health Matters in English, 4Rs, Luganda 3 300,000 + 100,000 x 2 500,000
Scouts Voice (Kenya) 2 60,000 120,000
Scouts Voice (Uganda) 2 50,000 100,000
Dong Paco Karacel (Lwo and English) 4 1500 x 2 + 6000 x 2 15,000
Young Talk in Braille 1 150 150
TOTAL publications 49 12,055,150
Of boys 15-19, 36% are out-of-school, 39% in primary, 24% in
secondary and 1% in higher education. The average gap between age at
first sex (AFS) and marriage is four years for boys compared to one for
girls. As such, boys have more premarital sex than girls. In Uganda, AFS
is stable or decreasing for boys but increasing for girls, a pattern seen
across much of Africa (Zaba et al, 2008; Slaymaker et al, 2009).
Straight Talk and Young Talk
are avidly read. The best data
on readership comes from a
Population Council study of 2040
adolescents in Soroti, Arua,
Ntungamo, Apac, Kisoro and
Kamuli in 2005-6. Of those in
secondary school, 85% had read
Young Talk and 90% had read
Straight Talk. Of primary pupils
(not all of whom were in P5-7),
43% had read Young Talk. The
average number of issues read
was 4.5 for both papers.
Since then STF has not
conducted a survey of
comparable scale. But it did
return to Kisoro in 2009,
surveying 343 young people
from 18 schools and 172
households. Readership remains
strong: over 80% had “ever”
read Straight Talk; over 70% had
“ever” read Young Talk.
Ever read ST or YT:
Kisoro district 2009
No. Straight
Male 167 88.8% 70.7%
Female 176 94.5% 75.6%
10-14 112 83.3% 71.6%
15-19 123 94.7% 73.1%
21-24 108 96.9% 80.0%
In 2008 STF collected qualitative
data on readership from over 400
youth, teachers and parents in
Bugiri, Kitgum and Kasese. The
issue at stake was: are STF’s papers
still valued and relevant?

Published in a report called “It
Works” in March 2009, responses
like those below have led STF to
conclude that overall Young Talk
and Straight Talk remain prized
reading by communities and are
usually their only print materials on
sexuality and HIV.
“I have seen my students
beneftting from Straight Talk and
Young Talk since I started teaching,”
said a teacher in Kasese. “Here we
are faced with early pregnancies
and many of our girls drop out.
Young Talk helps us in making sure
the younger ones understand. Both
Straight Talk and Young Talk help
them know about HIV/AIDS.”
“Straight Talk and Young Talk help students (on)
how to protect against HIV/STDs,” said a teacher
in Bugiri. “Students gain confdence to talk freely
about sex-related issues. They come to know that
it is not a crime or evil to talk about it.”
Straight Talk
Straight Talk, now in its seventeenth year,
provides comprehensive HIV and sexuality
education in English for older adolescents and
young people (15-24). Among 15 to 19 year olds,
education covered
S1-3 in 2009 and
increased retention
of girls. Of students
who sat O level
exams in 2009,
53% were boys. But
girls still perform
far worse than
boys on all national
Prevention with positives
sexual choices of young positives. Like
all older adolescents, the young people
living with HIV at STF are preoccupied
with falling in love. All now have boy
or girl friends from within their young
positives support group.
STF is committed to “prevention
with positives”. This means a pro-
active partnership with positives (not
mere consultation) to increase the
confidence of people with HIV, delay
disease progression and prevent
disease transmission.
Research from Rakai shows that a
“change in the risk behaviour of an HIV
positive person will on average and in
almost all populations have a much
bigger effect on the spread of HIV than
the equivalent change in a negative
person” (King Spooner, 1999).
hether young
people with HIV
disclose their status
to sexual partners is
critical for the epidemic.
But Nuru says stigma
and discrimination make
disclosure a complex and
difficult process. With
casual and unthinking
cruelty, her classmates
in secondary school
used to call her “insect”
and another young
positive “walking coffin”.
Recently one texted her
to say: “Nuru, I saw your
column. I am now in the
same boat as you!”
Her monthly diary
in Straight Talk is a
conversation about the
about 22% of girls and 24% of boys were in secondary
school in 2006, the year of the last Demographic
and Health Survey (DHS). STF estimates the reach of
Straight Talk to correlate with these proportions.
The four page A3 newspaper assumes that all its
readers are experiencing sexual feelings and pressures,
but that most of its readers are not having sex,
although an important minority are. Straight Talk also
assumes that most of its readers are not HIV positive
but that an increasing proportion are, having been
born with or acquired the virus.
A proud achievement for Straight Talk in 2009 was its
anonymous “Diary of a Young Positive,” which started
in February. Written by STF’s young positive’s offcer,
Nuru Kisitu, 24, the diary chronicled her feelings
about the virus, her relationship with her mother and
boyfriend, the ups and downs of her CD4 count, and
much more. Nuru was born with HIV but did not start
ARVs until she was 20. When she went public in The
New Vision and Straight Talk, she received 362 phone
calls and 178 texts from ten countries. One text read:
“Dear Nuru, we love what you do. Do you know how
many lives you have saved?” Another read: “Nuru, how
do I live positively? I found out 2 weeks ago. I am so
scared. Help me please. Am so cold.” In 2010, Nuru
will respond to young positives who contact her, visit
schools and run support groups at STF youth centres.
Much HIV prevention work is predicated on the
assumption that people have sex for only three
reasons: pleasure, love and/or reproduction. This
under-estimates the complexity of human motivation
and renders much HIV “messaging” less impactful
than it could be. In 2009, two psychology professors,
Cindy Meston and David Buss, from the University
of Texas, published a book--Why women have sex:
sexual motivation from adventure to revenge--that
identifed the 237 reasons why women have sex.
Although the authors are distinguished scientists, this
attracted wry attention. “Why 237?” people asked.
However, STF could draw up a possibly even longer
list for adolescents, which might start with boredom,
excitement, loneliness and lack of information. It would
also include desire for status and things, need for food,
to avoid a beating, to see what it feels like, to impress
a friend and to become grown up. To refect this
multiplicity of motivations for sex, each Straight Talk
provides a carefully crafted buffet or “katogo” (a multi-
ingredient Ugandan dish) in the hope that something
will strike a chord with every reader.
Body, HIV and science subjects covered in Straight Talk
in 2009 included TB, the vagina, circumcision, oral sex,
PEP, septrin, penis shape, STDs, hormones, HIV testing,
emergency contraception, preventing pregnancy, the
sperm cell, pubic hair, condoms, PMTCT, and breasts.
Many of these were captured in a box called “HIV
basics,” which ensures that Straight Talk does not
lose sight of HIV, even when it is talking about school
dilemmas, jobs, or relationships with parents.
Straight Talk also addressed life skills like coping
with sexual advances, managing sexual feelings in
a relationship, spending holidays safely, managing
unfaithful partners, going back to school after
pregnancy, and reasons why girls do not perform better
in school--part of STF’s drip-drip approach to gender.
STF is in conversation with young people and follows a
problem-solving approach. Thus in 2009, Straight Talk
posed 17 questions to readers, almost two per issue.
Some were exercises to get young people thinking
carefully, like a science quiz: How many sperm cells
are in an ejaculation? Describe signs of an STD? Others
nfluenced by Brazilian educationalist
Paulo Freire, STF editors try not to
visualize readers as empty objects
into which they deposit facts and
orthodoxies, i.e. “Having sexual
feelings? Just abstain! “
In Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1970),
Freire called this the banking method of
education. “Instead of communicating,
the teacher makes deposits which the
students patiently receive, memorise
and repeat,” wrote Freire. Knowledge
“becomes a gift bestowed by those who
consider themselves knowledgeable
upon those who they consider to know
nothing.. The teacher talks about reality
as if it were motionless ... Words are
emptied of their concreteness and
become hollow.”
Instead of “banking,” STF is in dialogue
with its readers, posing questions
Paulo Freire
and the
to them to help them see and
work with the world around them.
Freire called this problem-solving
education. “Those truly committed
to liberation...must replace deposit-
making with the posing of problems
of human beings...” Problem-solving
education, he said, is based on
“creativity and stimulates true
reflection and action.” Dialogue, he
said, is based on faith and love.
Probably the greatest influence on
communication for social change,
Freire’s ideas liberate STF editors
from the burden of being experts.
Their role, demanding enough, is to
listen intently, be deeply committed
to and interested in young people,
and be sensitive to the ever changing
landscape of HIV, youth and sexuality.
or breasts grow, or that going without sex will cause
infertility later in life. Myth-busting conversations about
body changes can help adolescents delay sex for now.
Counselors and doctors answered 60 questions in
Young Talk in 2009. One reader, 13, asked: is sex at
night safe because HIV sleeps? “One young person’s
question can help many others who are in a similar
situation,” says Print Director Topi Agutu. “Answers
must go behind the question. If a child asks if HIV
sleeps at night, is he having sex?”
In 2009 Young Talk focused on handling strong
emotions, talk as a life skill, managing shyness, self-
confdence, how to speak out for help, doing the right
thing, and the value of hard work. Regular “HIV basics”
were questions to which STF itself is seeking answers.
For example, some ethnic groups in Uganda “pull” to
elongate the labia: it is often done by an older woman
to a girl or in small groups of girls to each other. STF
wanted to know if pulling bears a relationship to
starting sex and HIV transmission.
Other questions drew on dilemmas posed by readers. “I
have a boy lover who cheats on me so much yet I put
all my mind and love on him,” wrote Tereza. “Should
I also cheat or chuck him?” “My friend, Tereza, your
boyfriend deceives you,” answered one girl. “I advise
you to mind your books more than him.” Another
advised: “Tereza, you are still young. If he fails to
change, end the relationship.”
Overall in 2009, Straight Talk featured 130 girls, 139
boys and 50 adult resource people, such as social
workers and doctors. The adolescents came from 62 of
Uganda’s 80 districts: national representation is vital.
Young Talk
Young Talk is for younger adolescents aged 10-14 who
are in the frst years of puberty. These children should
be in P5-7 but are often in lower classes, especially in
rural areas. P5-7 classes also include adolescents who
are older. This age mixing--the norm across Africa--
creates hurdles for age-appropriate sex education.
Young Talk’s fundamental message about sex is
“not yet”. Early adolescence is “too young” socially,
physiologically and economically for sex, child
bearing and marriage (Dixon-Mueller, 2008). To
support adolescents to delay sexual debut, Young Talk
facilitates multiple “conversations” on the subject.
Many young adolescents are under pressure (or
have already been forced) to start sex and need
conversations around bad touches and protecting their
body, walking in groups, thinking critically about peers
and adults who pressure them, reporting to trusted
adults, avoiding risky scenarios such as being alone
with a male relative, and being wary of gifts. Others
are deeply curious about sex or infuenced by myths.
Many believe that sex is necessary to make the penis
“Policy makers often assume that young people aged
10-14 are reliably under the protection of some kind of adult,
ideally their parents,” notes Population Council, 2009. But
in Uganda, only 42% of girls and 46% of boys live with both
parents and 30% of girls and 26% of boys live with neither.
(DHS, 2006).
TF’s approach of multiple
conversations actualizes of what
is now being called “combination”
or “highly-active HIV prevention”.
An illustration from an article by
Coates et al in The Lancet (Aug
2008) shows “highly-active HIV
prevention” as underpinned by the
domains of behavioural change,
treatment, biomedical strategies
and social justice. Every STF
newspaper attempts to speak to
several of these domains. This article
concludes that: “reductions in HIV
transmission...result from a complex
combination of strategies... the effective
mix will vary by transmission dynamics.“
Know your epidemic
STF also adheres to the “know your
epidemic, know your response”
approach which looks at where new
infections are occurring and allocates
resources where they will make the
biggest difference. Hence its focus in
2009 on most-at-risk and vulnerable
populations (fishing communities,
Combination or highly-active HIV prevention
and science columns covered penile hygiene, pimples,
circumcision, menstrual pain, ARVs, vaginal discharge,
breast size, sharing sharp objects, wet dreams, the
hymen, and where HIV lives in the body.
One of the strongest issues of Young Talk in 2009
was on life in fshing villages. Uganda’s National HIV
and AIDS Strategic Plan 2007-12 lists fshing folk as
a “vulnerable and most at risk population” with HIV
prevalence three times higher than the national 7%.
One girl told Young Talk: “The boys here deceive you
with fsh. The frst time a boy may give you free fsh,
the second time he gives you more free fsh, the third
time he asks for sex.”
Boys described how they stay safe. “I fsh after school.”
said Odoch, 15, from Arua. “At night I am at home. If
you fsh at night, there are women who drink alcohol
and are not ashamed to ask for sex from young boys.”
Girls have fewer safety ploys. A girl from Pingire
landing site, Serere, told Young Talk how she was
raped and made pregnant when her mother sent her to
collect money from a man who frequents her mother’s
drinking joint. “Nothing was done to him,” said the
girl. “He paid my mum to keep quiet.”
In 2009, quizzes included “write in and advise”:
Beatrice, whose parents want her to marry
for bride price; Kabuye, whose classmate puts
“her bums” on his legs; Scovia, whose teacher
wants to have sex with her; and Katushabe, who
asked: “if your father refuses to pay your school
fees, can your boyfriend help?” Readers warned
Katushabe that her boyfriend may pay for her but
then make her his wife so she would drop out of
school anyway. They urged her to ask relatives
to plead with her father on her behalf.
Young Talk struggles to be suffciently “low-lit”
for rural children. Nevertheless, the review of
STF’s 2006-10 Strategic Plan found Young Talk
still deeply relevant. “It has helped me to attend
school everyday and participate in class,” said
a pupil from Bugiri. “I ask my mother about
menstruation when I have a problem.”
Local language Straight Talk
STF’s 2006-10 Strategic Plan committed STF to produce
one Straight Talk in four indigenous languages every
year. In 2009, STF produced fve -- in Lwo, Ateso,
Luganda, Runyankole-Rukiga, and Runyoro-Rutoro.
Designed for older out-of-school youth, the papers had
shared core material with region-specifc photos and
The theme of the issue was “respect and love as
protection against HIV”. Unpacked, this included
articles on saying no to intimate partner violence,
going with your partner for VCT, antenatal care and
PMTCT, girls not falling for the “lies” of boys, and girls
not seeing boys merely as a source of money. It busted
myths, described condom use step-by-step, and looked
Pupils critique a Young Talk. STF pretests every
paper before going to press, a sacrosanct step in BCC.
Says print manager Martha Akello: “You can struggle to
illustrate an article, then the pupils say we do not like that
girl. She has big cheeks. So we have to change that. If we
do not get the faces right, they will not appreciate it.”
Young adolescents read the Ateso Straight Talk at a village fair
in Kabermaido. Although not written for their age group, the paper
will nevertheless answer many of their questions.
at PEP as well as genital warts.
Teacher Talk
Teachers are Uganda’s largest group of civil servants.
In primary schools, they can manage classes of up to
120 pupils. Most primary teachers earn about US$100
a month, head teachers about $200. Morale is low:
teachers are distracted by looking for other incomes to
educate their own children. On any day, 20-30% are
Although Universal
Primary Education (UPE),
started in 1997 and has
increased enrolment, only
48% of children who start
P1 complete the seven
primary years. In districts
such as Katakwi, just 18%
of boys and 11% of girls
get through. These bleak
fgures, not anticipated at the
outset of UPE, spell gloom
for SRH. “There are strong
correlations between limited
Kitgum, September 2009: Secondary
school teachers co-edit a Teacher Talk.
schooling and early marriage,” notes Population Council
(2009). “Age at frst birth and overall fertility also vary
by level of education of the female.”
STF launched Teacher Talk in 2002 to give primary
teachers a voice and start conversations about child-
centred teaching, ASRH, and how teachers can manage
their own sexuality, as teachers are a high risk group
for HIV. Teacher Talk is STF’s most “offcial” paper,
produced with the Ministry of Education and Sports. In
2009, STF produced four issues of Teacher Talk.
The frst Teacher Talk emphasised the teachers’ code
of conduct with articles on being a role model as well
as teaching in mother tongue. The second focused on
preventing school drop out. It covered making schools
safe for children, managing when UPE funds come late,
giving pupils access to text books, and encouraging
parents to send their children to school with food, as
there are no government meals. After reading it, a
teacher in Arua said: “I learnt that telling big boys and
girls that they should get married leads to school drop
out. Instead we should use motivating language.”
The third Teacher Talk focused on alternatives to
corporal punishment; caning is banned but common.
It looked at “not letting anger be your identity” and
“what is wrong with beating pupils”. The fourth, for
post-primary institutions, focused on HIV. “Do not look
at children with HIV as a burden,” wrote counselor
Goretti Nakabugo. “If you have HIV, consider yourself a
resource who can pass the message to your students.”
Special projects
As in previous years, STF
produced print materials for other
organisations, including:
Everyday Health Matters for
AFFORD/USAID. July: Preventing
sexual transmission of HIV.
English, Luganda and 4Rs.
Scouts Voice for Path-Kenya/
USAID. July “My changing body”;
Dec/Jan “Violence and HIV”.
Dongo Paco, see p43
HIPS/USAID: brochures , posters.

TF’s “conversation”
has been multiplied
thousands of times in
“talking compounds” at
schools. Its calendars are
up years after they were
published. Still on the wall
at Arapai Agricultural
College in 2009 was the
1996 calendar: “ Safer
sex is respect” and
“Assertiveness in a life
Words on a tree
ike all young
people at STF,
Denis Pato, 24,
recalls the exact
date he joined:
31 January 2008.
He takes home
UGX 200,000 a
month ($112),
with which he
pays his university
fees and supports
his parents and
brothers. His
mother is disabled from falling on burning charcoal
during epileptic fts.
Denis chooses letters to run in STF papers and also
logs and answers them. In 2009, Denis and his
colleagues answered about half of the 11,570 sent to
Young and Straight Talk. Over the 2009 Christmas
break, 15 STF staff worked overtime to clear 1427
questions, with senior STF editor Gilbert Awekofua
checking answers for quality. “The problem is
manpower,” says Denis.
“The easy letters are the ones on body changes,”
says Denis. “A girl will write: ‘I’m 16 and haven’t
started my periods.’ That’s easy. You tell her: ‘It’s
normal. They will come.’ What’s harder is when
someone is really in a problem and is trusting you
for an immediate response. We had a girl who wrote
that she was pregnant. If her parents found out, they
would send her away. We called her at her school,
and she said she was OK but in her tone we could
hear a lie. We do not know what happened. We have
others who say a teacher is defling them. Those we
answer urgently. We tell them to stay away from that
person, rush to a trusted adult, and maybe get PEP.”
In 2009 letters to Young Talk tripled to 8040,
while letters to Straight Talk declined to 3530.
Girls write more than boys (63% of letters
to Straight Talk; 60% to Young Talk). To its
fve “Talk” newspapers, STF received almost
13,000 letters in 2009.
Letters to STF print
Dear Young Talk,
My f r iend t old me t hat she has a vaginal dischar ge, which
causes pain, yet she has never had sex. What could be her
pr oblem?
My aunt t old me not t o t hr ow used pads in t he lat r ine and
not t o hang my knicker s in t he sun. She says I may not pr oduce childr en. I s it t r ue?
Somebody told me that if a girl doesn’t have sex, her vagina will close. I s it t r ue?
Why don’t girls experience wet dreams?
What happens when you ar e in love wit h a r elat ive? I s it t r ue t hat if you use a f emale condom you may die because it may ent er your ut er us?
Can I lose my vir ginit y by being cir cumcised?
Anj ella Teko, 15, P6
Mor ot o Municipal Council Pr imar y School
Newspaper Letters received
Young Talk 8,040
Straight Talk 3,530
Teacher Talk 260
Farm Talk 900
Tree Talk 80
Total 12,810
Letters to
STF rarely
contain just
one question.
This letter,
quite typical,
contains seven,
all intricate.
Topi: keeping STF print fresh
TF’s Director of Print,
Teopista Agutu, has edited
STF papers since 1998. She
has worked with two sexual
generations: there is a new
sexual generation every fve
Young people have the same
worries today as they had 11
years ago, says Topi. “There are
always new children who have
just grown into adolescents.
They are mostly in villages with
elders who believe myths about
body changes. They have to ask
their own questions.”
Says the mother of two with
a masters in public health
leadership: “As an editor, you
think: ‘We have just addressed
that.’ But you have to talk
about it again. The challenge
is keeping it fresh and looking
for new angles, “like illustrating
something differently or turning
it into a puzzle.”
Topi’s team started writing about
PEP in 2008. Under government
policy, PEP is free for anyone
who has been raped, although
this is not widely known. But
introducing PEP meant that
readers again question the
nature of HIV. Says Topi: “It was
baffing for them.
We had to explain
that although
PEP can prevent
infection, it is
not a cure if you
already have HIV.
We had to go
over the science
of HIV again and
say simply that
PEP stops the
virus from taking
Topi makes sure
that Straight
Talk and Young
Talk meet
the needs of
readers. “We refect on their
letters and look at documents
like the National HIV and AIDS
Strategic Plan, and we line those
together. We also ask ourselves
what are those new things in
HIV prevention. We started a
conversation with our readers on
medical male circumcision even
before the Ministry of Health
came out with a
In 2009 STF
introduced a
quality check list.
Says Topi: “You
check as the paper
is put together.
If something is
missing, you throw
it back to the
journalists. You can
say: ‘You’ve talked to
only girls. What about
boys?’ Or we look
and say: the ‘buffet’ is
not complete. It is too
much on science. What
about feelings?”
STF Mailing List 2009
Category No.
Primary Schools 14,234
Secondary School 3,320
Straight Talk Clubs 810
Young Talk Clubs 128
Tertiary Institutions 552
CCTs / Teacher Colleges 578
District Education
District Inspector Ofces 80
Health Centres 1,783
NGOs 484
CBOs 1,602
Baptist Churches 74
Catholic Churches 118
Church of Uganda 803
Islamic Institutions 45
Police 120
Prisons 57
Libraries 35
MPs 306
International addresses 266
Farm Talk Institutions 175
TOTAL 25,650
n 2009, two STF staff and
25 bundlers dispatched over
ten million papers to 25,650
destinations, 68% of which are
schools. The team also added
2,000 addresses to the STF
database and physically checked
on distribution in 13 districts.
Distribution offcer Gladys
Nayanga has a warm relationship
with adults who control access to
STF papers. “We thank DEOs and
postmasters for ensuring students
get their copies.”
Gladys blasts SMS texts to
teachers after she posts the
papers each month. “The
messages help a lot,” says Hoima
post master, Jonathan Balibeira.
“When teachers receive them,
they food here demanding for
their parcels, even when we are
still sorting them out.”
Sexual feelings are natural. But they
cannot control you. You can control them
by making your mind busy with work or
games. You do not need sex.
ENJOY LIFE. Nothing bad will happen if you do not have
sex. Your breasts, penis, hips and all other parts will grow.
You will have GOOD sex later in life. You will enjoy your
married life and produce children.
Wet dreams and
erections are part of
being a boy -- not signs
to start sex. Try not to be
embarrassed about them.
Menstruation is part of
being a girl -- not a sign
to start sex. Sex does not
cure menstrual pain. Sex
during menstruation is
unhealthy, and you can
get pregnant.
Wanting to be near the
opposite sex is part of
growing up. Girls, do
not get overwhelmed
by the sweet words of
boys. Enjoy the words,
but say NO and walk
away. Boys can also
say NO to girls. Avoid
being alone with a boy
or a girl who you have
feelings for.
Sex while you are
still at school is
BAD sex, whatever
your age. You
cannot concentrate
on your books.
Students and
pupils who start
sex at school rarely
complete their
studies or achieve
their goals..
Sex when you or your partner
are aged less than 18 is also
BAD. It often leads to prison for
the boy and early pregnancy for
the girl. This can bring death,
abortion, school drop out,
forced marriage.
Boys, sex when you are out of school is
COMPLICATED, even if you are over 18.
Relationships involve money so you will
not develop economically. If you have
a girl, have a serious one,who does not
have other partners or want a lot of
material things. Use condoms.
Girls, do not rush into sex or marriage, even if your parents are poor or put
pressure on you. Take your time and earn your own income. Boys and men
who give you money will want sex. If you have a boyfriend, have a serious one,
who listens to your ideas, is not violent, does not have other partners and
does not get drunk. Use condoms correctly everytime.
Manage your
strong emotions.
Talking honestly
with your partner
is the best
answer for issues
that appear
complicated. If a
relationship fails,
do not get violent
or have sex for
revenge or heap
blame on yourself.
someone special.
Many adolescents
have HIV: they
also want love
and sex. Never
stigmatise people
with HIV. They are
humans too! And
stigmatising them
may make them
hide their infection
and infect others.
If you have HIV, it is
young positive for
marriage so you
can share your HIV
starting any
test together
for HIV. If you
both test
negative, do
not get excited
and have
sex. Always
use condoms
to prevent
pregnancy until
you want a baby.
Any girl who is raped
rush within 72 hours
to a health centre
for emergency
contraception and
PEP, the medicine to
protect them from HIV
infection. Boys can
also get PEP.
GOOD sex is sex with one serious partner who
only has sex with you. It is after age 18, after
leaving school, when you are ready economically.
Good sex does not transmit disease. You are not
forced or ashamed. GOOD sex helps you have an
respectable and happy life.
Talking Points Talking Points
Sex is a natural part of life. But what you do sexually as a
young person will lead you to either a better life or a life of
suffering. Think critically about sex and the life you want.
PO Box 22366,
October 2009 English
Talking Points
TF reports to its main funding
body, the Civil Society Fund
(CSF), on people reached with
ABC messages (Abstain, Be Faithful
or Use Condoms). In 2009, the Civil
Society Fund went further and
challenged STF, asking: “How do you
know that you have done ‘A’? What is
your complete ‘A’?”
STF’s reaction was: “Well, we can talk
forever about abstinence. First, we say
that the hymen does not become hard
like cow hide if you don’t have sex...”
On refection, however, STF
felt this question was fair.
What is the minimum that
a young person needs to
absorb about “A”, “B” or “C”?
How does STF know what it
leaves behind in the hearts
of adolescents? What if STF
devotes an entire school
visit to alcohol and neglects
handling sexual feelings
or condoms? Faced with
students fring questions, it
is easy to slip off message.
In 2009, STF thus
developed Talking Points,
boiled-down distillations of
what STF would like young
people to retain. These
A4 sheets (English on one
side and one of 14 local
languages on the other)
start with “A” messages.
Point 7 and 8 introduce “B”
and “C”.
ABC has weaknesses:
it neglects people who
already have HIV or are
forced into sex. STF Talking
Points counter this with
points for positive youth
and on PEP.
They go beyond ABC to
HCT, couple dialogue,
violence, alcohol, the
right time to start sex,
and the purpose of a girl
or boyfriend. They try to
capture what good sex and
a good life might be.
Staff now speak from and
leave Talking Points behind
in the feld.
Straight Talk at a glance 2009
Straight Talk is for youth aged 15-
24 in secondary school and English
readers out of school. In 2009, STF
sent Straight Talk to 3,108 secondary
schools, 1,980 CBO/NGOs, 1,783
health centres and 1,910 churches
and mosques.
The local language paper is for
out-of-school youth who are less
comfortable with English; it was
produced in fve local-languages in
2009. At right is the version in the
language Runyankole-Rukiga.
Young Talk at a glance 2009
Young Talk is for adolescents in the
three upper classes of primary school.
About 90% of 10 to 14 year olds are in
primary school. In 2009 STF sent Young
Talk to 13,111 primary schools, 1,987
CBO/NGOs, 1,782 health centres and
1,039 churches and mosques.
Early adolescence is particularly risky
for boys. They are more likely to start
sex before age 15 and to be infected in
early adolescence than girls (DHS, 2006;
UHSBS, 2004-5).
Forester Joseph Otim (in black)
in the Tree Talk nursery at Paloga
PS, Kitgum. The nursery has
36 beds, each holding about
8000 seedlings. Packing pots
and pricking seedlings requires
dozens of labourers (insert).
Tree Talk planted 20 species in
2009: hardwoods, trees for poles
and firewood, ornamentals, and
multi-purpose trees. Most were
indigenous to Uganda.
Tree Talk &
Farm Talk
District Trees Acres
Adjumani 171,312 367
Amuru 201,748 432.2
Kitgum 169,314 362.7
Moyo 88,800 190.4
Gulu 43,377 132
Yumbe 71,139 152.4
Total 745,690 1636.6
Trees/acres planted in 2009 by district
Species Number %
Teak 6867 1.4
Neem 31811 6.5
Gmelina 21681 4.4
Melia 5877 1.2
Musizi 136.0 0.03
Orange/lemon 2111.0 0.43
Mahogany 48105 9.8
Senna 81193 16.6
Balinites 229.0 0.05
Jack fruit 737.0 0.15
Markhamia 201183 41
Albizia 37738 7.7
Jambula 9510 1.90
Shea 20.0 0.004
Delonix 1791.0 0.37
Afzelia 3355 0.68
Eucalyptus 19383 4.0
Tamarindus 4260 0.87
Mvule 6989 1.43
Mango 680.0 0.14
Total 490,425 100
Seedlings raised in 2009 by species
Tree Talk
ree Talk is both a newspaper and a tree growing
drive. Although people sometimes ask: “What’s
the link with adolescents and HIV?” – Tree Talk
fts perfectly into STF, and the links are endless.
To mention just a few: without trees, there is no fuel,
yet meals and clean boiled water are vital for pupils on
ARVs. Loss of tree cover means girls walk further for
frewood and are more vulnerable to rape. As poverty
worsens, girls marry earlier, usually to older men who
are more likely to have HIV.
Rural Ugandans make these links with ease. In
2009 Tree Talk hosted 40 radio talk shows. “When
we talked about forest degradation,” says Tree Talk
manager Simon Peter Amunau, “listeners called in and
said people should use family planning to reduce on
producing many children.”
Tree Talk started as a newspaper in 2002. Even before
climate change topped the world’s agenda, Uganda
needed to focus on trees. Over 76% of wood used is for
charcoal, the balance for poles and timber: 70% of the
506 central forest reserves are at risk of destruction.
The country loses 80,000 hectares of forest a year;
92% of households depend on biomass for energy.
With a format like Straight Talk–four pages, A3,
newsprint–Tree Talk is sent to all educational
institutions and many CBOs throughout Uganda.
The extra twist is that each package of newspapers
contains a sachet of tree seed. In 2009 STF produced
one national issue on the charcoal crisis and solutions:
more effcient charcoal production and stoves,
replanting after cutting. The paper was distributed
with seed for the tropical hardwoods Mvule or Afezelia
africana. The latter is on the IUCN endangered list.
In addition, STF produced Tree Talk issues for northern
Uganda in Lwo and English. As people return to their
homes from IDP camps, what happens to trees will
partly determine the fertility of the region. Men are
charcoaling trees for a fast though meager income and
burning large swathes of land to drive out game for
bush meat.
In 2009, Tree Talk was funded by WILD (Wildlife,
Landscapes, and Conservation for Development), a
USAID project managed by Wildlife Conservation
Society. Tree Talk’s role is to grow trees in a buffer
zone of 40 km around areas of great biodiversity in
the central north and along the Uganda-Sudan border:
Agoro Agu in Kitgum, Mt Otzi in Moyo, Murchison Falls
National Park in Amuru, and East Madi Wildlife Reserve
and Zoka Central Forest Reserve in Adjumani.
In 2009 Tree Talk supported the planting of an
estimated 745,000 trees, about 490,000 of which
were raised in the fve Tree Talk central nurseries,
the balance in 40 community nurseries. “The major
objective of reducing biodiversity loss may not be seen
now,” says Simon Peter. “But these are initial steps
towards that long term objective.”
Already visible, however, are woodlots at schools
that Tree Talk supported in years past. At Lokung PS
in Kitgum, the 3 acre “Tree Talk” woodlot, planted in
2006 with World Food Programme, now has a closed
canopy under which teachers hold lessons. At Koro P7
PS in Gulu, the administration raised salaries for three
The Adjumani Tree
Talk nursery. Inserts: pupil
with a Markhamia lutea
seedling; Simon Peter and
Otim on air in Kitgum.
teachers not on the payroll by selling part of the 2006
Tree Talk woodlot. They also made offce furniture.
Thus trees planted under Tree Talk are already taking
some pressure off the bush. Avoided deforestation is
the best way to reduce carbon emissions in Uganda,
and Tree Talk directly supports communities to do this.
Run by young foresters, Tree Talk’s nurseries are the
largest in the north. In 2009, they raised trees for 350
schools, planting a total of 1,600 acres. Woodlot trees–
mostly Senna, Markhamia, Gmelina and Neem–are
planted at 3 by 3 metres, 466 per acre. Hardwoods are
planted on school boundaries at a spacing of 10 metres.
The 40 community groups planted their trees on private
or common land. Although they will require ground-
truthing, reported results look positive. In Adjumani,
Mudruagwagwa community group raised over 40,000
trees and Ojjigo community nursery 30,000. Ojjigo
planted 10,000 and sold the balance for UGX 1 million.
If the best community nurseries become commercial,
this will be an achievement.
Tree Talk trained 683 teachers in 2009. Unexpectedly,
prisons emerged as powerful tree-growing institutions
after wardens attended trainings in Adjumani and
Kitgum. In Adjumani, Openzizi (with 5,000 almost
entirely unutilized acres) and the
local government prison raised about
50,000 seedlings in 2009. If these
are eventually used for frewood,
this will protect the bush: Openzizi
consumes four lorries of fuel wood a
Besides meeting the WILD planting
targets, Tree Talk nurseries sold
12,000 trees to NUTI, a USAID
project, and 7,000 Mvule, mahogany
and Albezia to the Farm Income
Enhancement and Forestry
Conservation Project. Earnings
were ploughed back into the
nurseries. Raising trees for others is a
sustainability strategy.
In addition, Tree Talk donated 15,000 mahoganies and
Albezia to replant a degraded forest that once protected
a water catchment in Koro, Gulu. “The springs had run
dry and the fsh pond was gone,” says Simon. This
was probably an over-donation. By the time the rains
stopped, the community had planted just 3000. But the
community’s clarity on the connection between the loss
of trees and water was heartening. “Awareness has
gone high,” says Simon. “People are responding. They
can even steal seedlings. Though stealing is bad it is
linked to the benefts they perceive to come from trees.
People may not know the meaning of ‘climate change’
but they know they are feeling the effects. They say:
‘We used to get rains from late February to May but last
year that season was missed. Even our famous Aswa
river was only stones’.”
Cost per tree planted and tree surviving are crucial
fgures for a world hoping to capture carbon through
reforestation. In previous years, Tree Talk estimated
that costs were about US$0.60 per tree planted and a
little higher per tree surviving to one year. But these
costs were raised by intermittent funding, which
meant that Tree Talk had to keep establishing new
nurseries. With consistent funding from WILD, Tree
Women with their community nursery in Adjumani.
Talk nurseries have steadily
produced seedlings since 2007,
leading to a drop in cost per
tree. In 2009 Tree Talk received
UGX 289 million (US$148,000)
from WILD. This works out at
UGX 387 or US$0.20 each for
745,000 trees. If 65% survive
to one year, the cost is UGX 596
each or US$0.30.
At the end of 2009, STF
received marvelous news. As
the Copenhagen Summit closed,
Danida in Kampala granted Tree
Talk US$1 million over three
years. Tree Talk fnally seemed
an idea whose time had come.
The new grant commits STF to
grow four million trees. STF is
aiming for twice that number
and hopes to also attract carbon
funds for schools.
Farm Talk
griculture is also
intricately linked with
adolescent well-being and
HIV. Over 70% of youth will end
up relying on farming; 66% of
the male and 81% of the female
working population is engaged
in agriculture. Of these, 42%
live below the poverty line, so
improving agriculture would
“directly reduce mass poverty.”
(Uganda Human Development Report, 2007).
Unfortunately, agriculture receives less than 5% of both
the government budget and donor allocations. Food
production is not keeping up with population growth.
Food crops are becoming cash crops and increasingly
controlled by men, further threatening food security.
Improved seeds, fertilizers and manure are applied
on only 6.3%, 1% and 6.8%
of parcels of land respectively.
(Uganda National Household
Survey, 2006) In 2002, STF
launched Farm Talk to galvanize
agriculture in schools and make
working in the school garden a
learning experience rather than
a punishment for pupils.
In 2009, funded by Danida,
STF produced three issues of
Farm Talk . With each issue,
each school receive a 5g sachet
of seed (eggplant, cabbage or
Amaranth). In its on-the-ground
component, Farm Talk worked
with 51 schools and three CBOs
to create model school gardens.
Forty of these each received
a package worth UGX137,000
(US$70) of seeds, hoes, pangas,
slashers, rakes and watering
cans. Farm Talk also trained 85
teachers (22 female) in backyard
gardening and how to make
sack mounds, nursery beds and
liquid manure. Visited once a
term, schools had impressive
results: small productive school
gardens and innovations such as
kitchen gardens around baskets
of household peelings.
“They used their gardens
for teaching and the harvest
to help school feeding,” says Farm Talk ’s Robert
Muwawu. “Mwanyangiri PS in Mukono harvested so
much Amaranthus seed that they ground it for pupils’
Farm Talk will continue in 2010 with a focus on
gender: 70% of all crops make their way to market on
the heads of women.
Farm Talk encourages school farmer
clubs and promotes school gardens as living
labs for learning.
Ener gy-savi ng
char coal st oves save
char coal , money and
t he envi r onment .
They cost mor e
i ni t i al l y but you save
dai l y by usi ng l ess
char coal .
Energy is t he abilit y t o do work. To
cook food we need fre. Fire is a form
of energy. At night we need light
t o see. Light is also energy. We use
paraffn lamps, candles or electric
bulbs in our homes and schools.
Factories use energy
t o produce t hings t hat
we use everyday like
sugar, soap, books
and matches. Grinding
mills also use energy.
Energy for cooking
and light ing cost s
money. We also
spend time and our own energy from
the food we eat to collect frewood.
Today many people only get enough
freood or charcoal to cook one meal
a day. Do not wait for t his t o happen
to your family. Use energy well. Do
not wast e it .
Ener gy cr i si s
According t o t he Minist ry of Energy
and Mineral Development, about
97% of Ugandans use frewood and
charcoal t o cook. But when we cut
trees for frewood in the village or
cook on charcoal in town, we are
reducing our woodlands. This disrupt s
t he rain cycle and causes soil erosion.
Our country could become a desert.
Yet we need energy t o eat . So what
should we do?
Gr ow t r ees
Farm Talkers, take the lead to plant
trees at home and school. Use
Ener gy i s l i fe
Together we can save energy for improved lives and a better environment
Get your packet of cabbage
seeds wi t h t hi s Far m Tal k.
Mak i n g ag r i cu l t u r e r ew ar d i n g an d f u n f o r p u p i l s & t each er s Vo l . 10 No.1 August 2009
Use i t wel l
“ We use a lot of frewood cooking
on ours," says Ki bi r i ge H, 13, P6,
St Ki zi t o PS, Waki so. "We have t o
keep on blowing the fames. It
produces a lot of smoke.
Our neighbours wit h
st oves cook fast er
t han us.”
To save
frewood and
char coal :
• Use energy-saving stoves
and well- dried frewood split into
t hin pieces. • Cover t he saucepan
while cooking. • Cut food int o
smaller pieces and soak dry foods
like peas and beans
before cooking. • Avoid
over-flling saucepans
wit h wat e. •
Prepare t he food t o
be cooked before
light ing t he st ove.
Put the fre out once
you fnish cooking.
frewood from the trees you plant.
Your family will save money and help
to stop forests from being destroyed.
Planting trees for frewood also saves
children and women from walking
long distances to collect frewood
from bushy places.
John Kut eesakwe of t he Ener gy
Advi sor y Pr oj ect i n t he Mi nst r y of
Ener gy, says: “ A person who used
to walk one kilometer to collect
frewood eight years ago,
today moves 12
kilometers." This
is a sign of our
energy crisis but
it also exposes
females to rape.
A gi r l , 17, i n
Kakoma, Bushenyi ,
t ol d Far m Tal k: "I had gone very
far to look for wood when a man with
a panga raped me.” Girls also miss
school because they collect frewood.
Growing trees around
your home and school
can solve many of
these problems.
Save frewood
& char coal
The t radit ional 3-st one
fre place is wasteful.
Young Far mer s of St El i zabet h PS, Kyamaganda,
Masaka weed t hei r gr een pepper gar den pl ot .
At 20, Juliet Kabahaguzi is STF’s second
youngest radio journalist. She runs the
youth show in Runyoro-Rutoro. One of 11
children, Juliet had to leave school after
S4 (tenth grade). Her father died of AIDS
in July 2009. “When STF called me for an
interview, I was at his burial,” says Juliet.
She started work at STF in August.
“Juliet is going through all the things
other adolescents are going through,”
says radio director Annette Kyosiimire.
“She does wonderful interviews.”
In this photo, Juliet is interviewing a
secondary student in Kisaalizi SS, Kibaale.
“I asked him how he became lame,”
explains Juliet. “He said that war delayed
him to be immunised against polio. He
told me he has sexual feelings but wants
to be circumcised frst because it protects
60%. He has a girlfriend who is not lame.”
STF broadcast 5,096 radio shows in 2009.

adio is STF’s largest communication stream
with 26 journalists, a studio technician,
a letters coordinator and two managers.
Without salaries, Radio accounts for 21% of STF’s
expenditure budget, about UGX 1.559 billion or
US$796,592 a year, almost twice as much as print
STF is committed to reaching the majority of
adolescents. Because Uganda is 87% rural and
does not have a national language, these are
young people who live in scattered homesteads
and conduct their lives in their mother tongue.
Uganda’s Constitution recognizes 56 languages;
the National Curriculum Development Centre 23
with an orthography and dictionary. Only radio
can cost-effectively reach such a dispersed and
multilingual population.
STF has broadcast shows for young people since
1999. Its 2006-10 Strategic Plan committed it to
reaching 15 languages by 2010. STF surpassed
this in 2009, launching three new shows to reach
17 languages up from 14 in 2008. The three new
languages represent remote, underserved areas.
Madi is a tonal language spoken by about 400,000
people along the Nile as it enters Sudan. Lebthur
is spoken by about 80,000 people who reside
in Abim district squeezed between the Luo and
Karimojong. Pokot is spoken by about 80,000
people along the Kenya border.
STF started broadcasting for parents in 2005 to
support them as “super protectors” of adolescents
and to help them think critically about their
own sexual lives. HIV discordance in marriage
is high, with 43% of new infections occurring
in settled couples. Today STF broadcasts in nine
Language Launch B/casts
Radio shows for adolescents/youth
English Straight Talk 1999 17
Lwo: Lok atyer kamaleng 2000 5
Runyankore/Rukiga: Tusheeshuure 2001 6
Ateso: Einer Eitena 2002 3
Lugbara: Eyo eceza tra ri 2003 3
Lusamia: Embaha Ngololofu 2003 2
Lumasaba: Khukanikha Lubuula 2004 2
Luganda: Twogere Kaati 2004 5
Lukonzo: Erikania Okwenene 2004 2
Lusoga: Twogere Lwattu 2005 5
Kupsabiny: Ngalatep Maanta 2005 3
Karimojong: Erwor Ngolo Ediiriana 2006 4
Lufumbira: Tuvuge Rwatu 2007 2
Runyoro/Rutooro: Baza busimba 2008 4
Madi Ta’joka gbo 2009 1
Lebthur Twak natir both lwak 2009 1
Pokot Ngal cho momi kewiny 2009 2
Sub-total/wk 17 shows 71/wk
Radio shows for parents
4Rs: Eriaka Ryomuzaire 2005 5
Lugbara: Nzeta Tipikaniri 2005 3
Lukonzo: Omukania owa’ babuthi 2005 3
Lusamia: Embaha ya bebusi 2005 2
Lumasaba: Inganikha iyi basaali 2006 2
Luganda: Eddobozi lya muzadde 2006 2
Lwo: Lok pa Lanyodo 2006 4
Ateso: Einer Aurian 2007 2
Karimojong: Erwor Angi Kaureak 2008 4
Sub-total/wk 9 shows 27
TOTAL 26 shows 98/wk
languages for adults, a vital part of the STF package for
STF shows were broadcast on 50 stations in 2009.
Depending on the size of the linguistic region, shows
are usually broadcast on more than one station.
Shows for the large languages like Luganda, Lwo and
Runyankole/Rukiga are played on six stations each.
English, understood nationwide by young people with
secondary education, is played on 16.
In 2009, therefore, each week STF produced 17
different radio shows for youth which were broadcast
a total of 71 times each week. It also produced nine
shows a week for parents which were broadcast a total
of 27 times each week. STF thus broadcast 3,692 youth
shows and 1,404 parent shows, for a grand total of
5,096 shows in 2009, up from 4,160 in 2008.
Although STF bargains hard for good prices, over 80%
of its radio spend goes to airtime. Shows range in
price from UGX100,000 on small stations like Better FM
in Fort Portal to UGX 500,000 for ones with multiple
transmitters like Capital FM. Radio stations are STF
allies, acting as drop points for listeners’ letters. In
Boys become vulnerable to HIV later than girls. Boys
are protected by longer schooling and a later age of first
sex -- estimated at 18.3 for boys and 16.7 for girls (DHS,
2006). By age 18-19, just 0.2% of boys have HIV compared
to 3.9% of girls (UHSBS, 2004-5).
2009, stations gave STF 20 free live shows and 312
free broadcasts of pre-recorded shows, at a value of
UGX 62,400,000.
“Tried and true” format
All STF shows are pre-recorded and a half hour in
length, a mix of interviews and narrations. Each show
plays three songs and six to eight sweepers. All end
with a quiz question, which runs for two months: the
third month is for announcing winners. Every show
answers three listeners’ questions, unless it is a “doctor
show”, which answers eight. Each show must mention
20 people and have an adult resource person as “back
These rules create dense, rich radio shows, and
this time-tested format has brought in hundreds of
thousands of letters from listeners since 1999. In 2009,
it brought in a record 38,980 letters from youth and
4,637 letters and SMS texts from parents.

Each radio journalist goes to the feld four times a
year to collect material for 13 shows on each trip.
A logbook developed in 2009 allowed STF to check
exactly how many people each journalist interacted
with, where and what transpired. In 2009, STF’s youth
radio journalists worked in 483 villages in 78 out of 80
districts. Its Parent Talk journalists covered 251 villages
in 47 districts.
Although radio is a mass media, the process of
collecting material for shows is intensely interpersonal.
In 2009, journalists for the youth shows conducted
one-on-one interviews with 2,663 people and focus
groups with over 50,000. Journalists for the parent
shows interviewed 1,572 people and met about 7,000
in FGDs.
Radio journalists are expected to conduct condom
demonstrations and give out copies of STF papers,
Talking Points and prizes such as seeds.
Feedback to shows
STF examines the letters received per show every
quarter. If there is a decline, the radio team dives in
deep. Has the journalist lost steam? Has a station lost
power and is only broadcasting to a two km radius?
From 1999 to 2006, over 70% of all letter writers
were male. From 2007, STF made a strenuous effort
to be more girl-relevant. This greatly increased girls’
participation: in 2009, just 52% of letters were from
boys and, for the frst time, letters from girls to several
shows surpassed letters from boys. This refects good
programming on the part of STF as well as Uganda’s
push to enrol and retain more girls in school. But
it also refects another changed demographic: letter
writers are increasingly from secondary schools. This is
a deep worry as local language radio shows are STF’s
key intervention for the out-of-school. STF radio teams
may be over-interviewing in schools, so 2010 will
see a major push to re-orient the shows to the out-of-
Field visits/people reached in focus group
discussions and in-depth interviews in 2009
STF’s youngest radio journalist, Doreen Muhumure,
20, interviews a student at Kagongo School of Midwifery
for the Runyankole-Rukiga youth show. In 2009, STF
radio journalists interviewed and broadcast the advice
and reflections of 307 health workers, 165 elders, 181
counselors and 148 teachers.
Straight Talk show
(by language)
Lukonzo 2 37 208 4194
Ngakarimojong 4 29 127 1764
Luganda 11 21 145 1591
Runyankole-Rukiga 9 39 172 4110
Lusoga 7 39 159 2837
Urufumbira 1 36 160 1812
Ateso 7 15 73 406
Lugbara 4 35 188 2090
Lumasaba 4 40 190 3689
Lusamia 2 48 224 1645
Kupsabiny 2 29 154 1317
Lwo 9 38 172 2934
English 9 20 156 13160
Runyoro-Rutoro 5 38 182 5354
Madi 2 31 144 1284
Lebthur 1 9 109 701
Pokot 1 10 100 1532
17 languages
78 483 2663 50470
Parent Talk show
(by language)
Lukonzo 2 36 208 1171
Ngakarimojong 4 29 101 769
Luganda 7 29 156 976
Runyankole-Rukiga 9 36 167 1248
Ateso 8 19 184 384
Lugbara 3 25 127 368
Lumasaba 4 26 167 1280
Lusamia 2 31 219 808
Lwo 8 20 243 965
9 languages
47 251 1573 6993
school, without losing the girls.
Most adolescents write to the youth shows to answer
the “quiz”. To “Imagine you went together for an HIV
test and your partner was positive. What would you
do?”, Stella of Moyo wrote: “Love is sweet and sex is
delicious but life is precious. We would get counseling
and stay together but without sex.”
To “What have you done that could have exposed you
to HIV?”, Fred of Lira Youth ST Club wrote: “I would
drink alcohol, smoke marijuana and have sexual
intercourse on a competition basis.” KK, 20, wrote:
“My brother’s wife asked me what was I doing at my
age without a girlfriend. We had sex. I am scared to
test for HIV.”
To the third, about a girl whose ex-boyfriend wants
sex, Juliet from Yumbe SS wrote: “Good sex is with the
right person in the right place at the right time. If he
insists on his demand, terminate the relationship for
purposes of safety and to prevent you from having a
divided mind at school.” To a boy with four girlfriends,
Aisha of Iganga wrote: “He can get infected. It is also
funny to have four girls. He should stick to one. The
girls might fght or pour acid on him.”
Letters to the Parent Talk radio show can be poignant.
One to the Lusamia show read: “I am Robert, writing
this letter for my father. He says it is good for parents to
use condoms to prevent AIDS and for family planning.
Condoms are also good for the man when he has sex
outside his family.” To a quiz on what causes poverty,
Buhoya Parent Talk Club wrote in: “Laziness of the
heart, not taking education as important, and eating too
much food.”
Listenership surveys are another measure of a show’s
popularity. In 2009 STF surveyed Straight Talk youth
radio shows in three districts. In Kisoro, “ever listened”
was 85-95%. In Moroto and Nakapiripirit, it was over
Social group Ever
Population Council data 2005-6 n=2013
Adolescent males n=1070 60%
Adolescent females n=1067 50%
In-school adolescents n=1700 57%
Out-of-school adolescents n=279 52%
Primary pupils n=1350 51%
Secondary students n=348 82%
Parents (listening to youth show) 40%
Population Council data 2005-6 by district
Adolescents Apac n=367 64.5%
Adolescents Arua n=351 84.3%
Adolescents Kamuli (English show) n=351 13%
Adolescents Kisoro (English show) n=366 13%
Adolescents Ntungamo n=351 75.1%
Adolescents Soroti n=351 80%
Karamoja data 2009
Adolescents to ST show Moroto/Nak n=309 72.3%
Parents to PT show Moroto/Nak n=120 80%
Kisoro data 2009
Adolescents 10-14 n=144 86%
Adolescents 15-19 n=123 87%
Youth (20-24) n=108 93%
In-school n=181 90%
Out-of-school n=162 88%
Male n=167 87%
Female n=176 90%
Parents listening to Parent Talk 2009
Kumi n=51 94%
Masaka n=51 51%
Gulu n=51 51%
Mbale/Siroko n=176 71%
Arua n=118 79.5%
Ntungamo n=115 70.6%
Apac n=126 88.3%
Committed to condoms: Sylvia Atuhaire (R),
4Rs Parent Talk journalist in 2009, helps with a condom
demonstration. The students pay rapt attention. In 2009 the
STF radio team did over 500 demonstrations.
“Ever listened” to an STF radio show
70%. STF also measured listenership to some of the
Parent Talk radio shows. Over 90% of parents had “ever
listened” in Kumi, about 50% in Gulu and Masaka, 75%
in Arua, 71% in Ntungamo and 88% in Apac. In 2010,
STF will conduct more extensive listenship surveys of
shows that have not been examined since 2005.
Straight Talk youth radio shows
olline Atala, 22, is the radio journalist for STF’s
Luo youth show. “I know what I am doing is
helping young people, like a girl whose father
refused to pay her schoolfees. I aired a show on hope
after school drop out. She told me that after the family
listened, he accepted to take her back to school.
Although I am a virgin, I like demonstrating condoms.
Once a girl asked for a razor to open the pack and
then she unrolled the whole condom before dressing it
on the dildo. Many people do not know how to use a
teacher said: ‘So you are the people spoiling our
children.’ I said: ‘How will we protect them if we do
not talk about condoms? Maybe one child is behaving
well. But you know how God creates different types
of children. Another will need a condom.’ And the
teacher said: ‘What you are saying is true. You can
even hear that a pastor’s kid is pregnant.’”
In November 2009, on a Unicef-sponsored learning
trip, Charity spent a week in Senegal with Tostan,
the NGO that has pioneered a rights-based approach
to the abandonment of female genital cutting. Her
experience in Senegal will inform her work in 2010
as she continues to explore this sensitive topic with
her listeners.
renda Nakimbugwe, 21, runs STF’s Luganda youth
show. Field work is arduous, especially on the
islands in Lake Victoria, where there are only
three secondary schools and most adolescents work in
fshing, a business characterized by booms and busts,
daytime sex and alcohol.
Petite and cute, she says she can manage the crowds.
“At frst, I was shy. Boys would say outright: ’I want
you to be my girl’. But this last year was smooth. I got
techniques to joke it off. I say: ‘you frst fnish school. I’ll
wait for you.’ Then I get back to the discussion.”
harity Cheptoris,
25, presents
the Kupsabiny
youth show. Her
father rejected female
circumcision and
educated his fve
daughters. “People used
to laugh at him but since
I graduated and got a
job, they say he had
sense,” says Charity.
Her area suffered famine in 2009, which increased
forced marriage. “Parents would say: ‘As long as my
daughter has small breasts, we can make her marry.’
They hope the husband might have a little maize. So I
encourage education on my show. Later some parents
get ashamed and say to me: ‘Ah we are doing those
things you talk about. Your words make us feel we
need to change.’ ”

“Sometimes I feel overwhelmed. Girls follow me. One
says: ‘I’ve got a problem with my private parts and
have never told anyone.’ Another says: ‘I carried out
an abortion. A local woman did it for me.’ I do not
have solutions. I advise and refer.
Charity assiduously demonstrates condoms. “Once a
STF youth journalists struggle with the same issues as
their listeners. This creates immediacy. They are not adults
lecturing youth, although they sometimes do lecture.
tella Abwol, 30, presents
the Parent Talk radio
show in Lwo. Her show
received 848 letters in 2009,
more than any other STF show
for parents.
Says the former teacher: “As
people tell their stories, I pick
something. I am only four
years in marriage, but I have
met parents who have stayed
for 40 years. I have learnt that
marriage requires patience.”
“Most family problems come
from the man due to alcohol.
But I want men to love the
show so I do not criticize them
too much. I can say: ‘that
girlfriend you are loving may
also be loving someone else,
so it is better to stick to your
wife. You may be wasting your
time and money and putting
your family at risk.’”
Stella thinks her “softly, softly” approach keeps men
on board. Over 70% of her letters come from men.
“I encourage talk and reconciliation. On one show
I talked about a young man who made a girl
pregnant. He wanted to run away, but his parents
said: ‘However much you run, this problem will not
expire. You have to resolve it.’ The boy continued
loving other girls. But then he realised that he was
exposing himself to HIV. So he left his other girls
and now has love for this girl.”
Stella is convinced that persuasive arguments can
sway men: “A man was marrying off his daughters.
So I wrote to him and said
that the men he
is marrying his
daughters to may
not be able to
take care of those
daughters better
than if they were
educated. When I
visited him in the
feld, he was pleased
and had put his girls
in school.”
Although Stella
handles men
delicately, in the
following interview
Parent Talk: getting the men on board
in 2009, she subjects a man to a stiff grilling. He
describes a one night stand and the subsequent
emotional turmoil.
Radio like this may do more to encourage healthy
gender relations than tackling gender more
explicitly. Extramarital sex is a social norm for
men in Uganda, but this interview shows that
is not taken lightly and can be accompanied by
shame. The UHSBS 2004-5 reports that 37% of
married men had a non-cohabiting sexual partner
in the previous 12 months.
Stella in Apac: “I point out the negative
parts of what men do. I tell them that it is
wrong to be violent.”
Radio script
Uganda. They have caused excitement. As one 26-
year-old listener exclaimed: “How did STF remember
that there is a tribe called Pokot? We have never
had a radio show in our language. We are behind in
Another, 22, said: “I thank STF. We are forgotten.
When we heard the vehicle, we hid because we
thought it was the army. You have come to teach us
many things which we did not expect.”
Touched, STF has struggled to create a good show. But
there are few Pokot paravets or health workers to be
“expert voices”, and violence is ever present.
“Last night the enemy came,” narrated one Pokot.
“Luckily the dogs chased them.” One woman lamented:
“Dogs are the ones taking care of our animals now
because we have handed our guns to the army.
Yesterday a school boy was shot. The Karimojong are
killing us.”
Focus groups, however,
are animated and
orderly. Pokot sit
according to their
wealth in cows. Radio
manager Hassan
Sekajoolo explains: “If
you do not own any, you
sit at the back.”
Limale is learning to
write non-judgemental
scripts. For now the
show is beginning the talk
that may help the Pokot to re-
think FGC. Explicitly tackling
FGC will come later.
he Pokot are one of two Ugandan groups that
practice female genital cutting (FGC). Pastoralists
who struggle with drought and armed raids (in
which they also take part), their history with outsiders
includes soldiers seizing their guns, offcials insisting
they wear Western clothes, NGOs urging them to stop
FGC, and other pastoralists taking their cattle. Upon
starting work with the Pokot in September 2009, STF
was anxious to break with this negative pattern.
Alex Limale, who produces the show, had his own
anxieties. Keen to please his non-Pokot colleagues, his
frst script castigated FGC. Yet he clearly revered the
custom. “The surgeon women teach girls to respect
their husbands. It grooms them to be good women,”
he explained off air.
STF decided that for now the show would simply
allow the Pokot to talk about their lives rather than
try to “change” them. New shows were created in
which Pokot described animal
diseases, famine foods and
marriage. Overwhelmingly,
they talked about their cattle.
“We are eating only wild
fruits,” one man, 26, said. “Our
cows are dying. Are we all
going to perish?”
Another man, 32, said: “If our
cows die, we will not have
any occupation. We are not
good at business. We migrate
with our animals in search of
water and pasture. That is the
nature of our life.”
Funded by Unicef, STF’s shows
are the only Pokot broadcasts in
Alex, 23, has a diploma in development
studies. A pastor paid for his education.
“Working at STF has opened my mind,” he
says. “People in Amudat appreciate my show
because I am the son of that place.”
Working with the Pokot
17. Happiest moment in marriage (men)
18. Malaria
19. HIV and family planning
20. Faithfulness in marriage
21. Alcohol
22. Male involvement in family planning
23. Bride price
24. HIV and nutrition
25. Children’s education
26. How to fght poverty
27. Family planning (permanent)
28. Condom consistency
29. Making a will
30. Partner communication on condoms
32. Nutrition
33. Palliative care
34. Pain management
35. Taking care of children with HIV
36. HIV and cancer
37. Patient’s room and bed making
38. Discordance
39. Counseling
40. Palliative care for children
41. Couple support and HIV
42. TB
43. Kaposis sarcoma
44. Disclosure to children
45. Counseling children with HIV
46. Stress management
47. Malaria and net management
48. Multiple concurrent partners
49. Stories of children with HIV
50. Pregnant women and malaria
51. Spiritual support
52. Home-based care

Straight Talk youth radio shows
refect the domains of highly-active
HIV prevention, addressing a mix
of biomedical, social, care and
treatment themes. Themes for 27
shows are pre-selected in Kampala;
13 arise from listeners; 12 are doctor
shows. Below is a composite list.
Physical beauty
HIV vs Pregnancy
Teenage pregnancy
Your life your future
Gender roles
Achieving one’s dream
Girl-boy relationships
Early marriage
Family planning
Parent -child communication
HIV transmission
Becoming an adult (girls)
Becoming an adult (boys)
First sex (boys)
First sex (girls)
Family planning
Deciding the number of children
Teacher –student relationship
Forced marriage
School drop out
Pad disposal
Life on the islands
Life in holidays
Multiple partners
Why an ST club?
Income-generating activities
Condom consistency
to 52. Doctor or Quiz shows
1oplcs of the 62 Stralght 1alk radlo shows

Parent Talk was funded in 2009
from four sources: Civil Society
Fund, PACE, UNITY and Unicef.
The following is a composite list of
1. Sanitation
2. Family growth and development
3. Saving
4. Bilharzia
5. Sex and marriage
6. Condom use in marriage
7. Women’s development
8. Domestic violence
9. Managing big families
10. Science of HIV
11. Cervical cancer
12. Family planning
13. Complications of ARVs
14. Child trafcking
15. Cropping and fertilizers
16. Happiest moment in marriage
1oplcs of the 62 Parent 1alk radlo shows
Radlo partnershlps
PACE: Parent Talk Luganda,
Lumasaba, 4Rs, Lwo. Eight spots/
eight languages on 32 stations:
malaria, basic care package and
Unity-MoES/USAID: Parent
Talk Ateso, Lwo, 4Rs, Luganda,
HIPS-USAID: 13 half-hour Good
Life shows in Lugwere, Runyoro-
Rutooro, Luganda, English, Lwo.
SPRING-USAID: see p 43.
FHI: 13 half-hour shows on FP:
Lusamia, Luganda, Runyankore-
Rukiga, Lusoga on FP.
UNFPA: ten announcements in
nine languages for 2009 poster
WILD-USAID: fve spots in
Lwo and Madi on biodiversity
Resty Nabwire (right), veteran Lusamia STF
journalist, in a Parent Talk conversation with a woman.
On her show, men have complained that their wives
become “dilute” -- that is, their vaginas are no longer
tight -- after giving birth to many children. They said that
this caused sexual disatisfaction and infidelity.
Straight Talk youth shows: letters in 2009
traight Talk radio shows for
youth received a bumper
crop of letters in 2009. The total
was 38,980, up from 27,700
in 2008. This was an average
of 2,292 letters for each of
the 17 shows, the second best
performance ever after 2005
when STF received 29,749
letters to just 11 shows, or 2,704
a show.
As in almost all previous
years, Lwo brought in the
most letters (5,681) in 2009,
followed by English (4,277),
and Runyankole-Rukiga (3,567).
Also as in previous years, small
languages performed strongly,
eliciting more letters per young
person than the larger languages.
For example, the Lusamia show
which covers just two districts
and about 216,051 youth attracted
2,885 letters. In contrast, the
Runyoro-Rutoro show covers six
districts and about 611,572 youth,
yet received
just 3,111
increased to
all youth radio
shows. Some
doubled the number of letters
to their show simply by
interacting more intensely with
listeners (more dedications,
more questions answered) and
radiating commitment to them.
Much of the goodness of radio
is tone.
Letters to competition
questions constituted
the bulk (47%),
followed by questions
to the doctor (24%),
followed by letters
“appreciating” the
show. (See the pie chart
iteracy levels are far lower in adults than youth.
Among women aged 40-44, for example, 60% have
either never been to school or only have “some
primary education”. Even so, letters to the nine Parent
Talk shows increased dramatically from 1,113 in 2008 to 3,884 in 2009. Parents were also invited to send text
messages, which brought in another 753. One text read: ““Pliz my sister, how long does HIV take? If you go for test
when will it get known?” Letters are overwhelmingly from males to the Lugbara, Luhkonzo, 4Rs and Lwo shows.
Parent Talk radio
show letters in 2009
TF has been taken by surprise by
the change in who responds to its
youth radio shows. Letter writers
used to be overwhelmingly male and
about 40% out-of-school. Today they are
equally divided between girl and boys
and overwhelmingly in school.
Only the
Lugbara and
Lwo shows still
display the old
pattern of boys
sending in the
vast majority of
Letters, however, are not a perfect
refection of who is listening. STF
surveys have shown that even in areas
where almost all letters come from boys,
boys are only slightly more likely to
listen than girls.
Educational status of letter writers to
Straight Talk radio
Year Ter-
2ndary Primary Out-of-
2006 5% 44% 10% 41%
2007 5.3% 51% 8.8% 35%
2008 4.6% 67% 6.5% 22%
2009 2.3% 75.3% 6.3% 16.1%
Year Male Female
2004 82% 18%
2005 79% 21%
2006 79% 21%
2007 70% 30%
2008 61% 39%
2009 52% 48%
Percentage distribution of ST radio letters by gender
% Male % Female
Distribution of ST radio letters by educational status 2009
TF has always been deeply
concerned about young people
with disabilities (PWDs), often interviewing
adolescents with special needs for its papers and
radio shows. In 2008 it produced radio shows in
14 languages and Young Talk and Straight Talk
newspapers on disability. However, deep concern is not
enough, and in 2009 STF decided to greatly increase
its involvement with disability.
Uganda’s National HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan
2007-12 singles out PWDs as a vulnerable and at
risk population. “Little information exists about the
burden of HIV among PWDs but their vulnerability
(has) been globally recognized... and their access to
services is much more limited” than that of the general
population. The Plan stresses the dual causality of HIV
and disability. ”While disability increases vulnerability
to HIV infection, HIV infection can also cause various
kinds of disability.”
Although WHO estimates that about 10% of the world’s
population lives with a disability, Uganda’s 2001
census found a lower fgure -- about 3.5%.
Whatever the precise fgure, in
2009 STF decided to ramp up
its investment in youth with
disabilities. Not only was it
concerned about them as a MARP
(most at risk population), the
anecdotal evidence was clear:
young PWDs were often sexually
exploited. They were also
missing out on HIV and sexuality
education. A 2007 study by
NUDIPU (National Union of Peoples with Disabilities)
found that 11% of PWDs had never heard of condoms.
STF’s own research in 2009 in fve schools for young
people with disabilities in Mukono and Kampala
found that 65% agreed with the statement that the
information available on HIV/AIDS and ASRH is for
non-disabled people.
Susan Ajok, STF’s director of programmes, was
particularly ferce about the need to move into
disability. “Groups like NUDIPU were coming to us
because we have mastered how to approach young
people. And we knew there were so many disabled
youth who were counting on us and wanting
something really tailored to their needs.”
Susan submitted a proposal to Cordaid. The Dutch NGO
almost immediately came back with a grant of UGX
230 million (US$118,613) for three years. In just a few
months STF entered a world of vulnerability it had only
previously guessed at.

Adolescents in Kitgum sign as STF visits. Of the almost one million
people in Uganda with disability, 31% are aged less than 18.
Quinta (far left) at
Kisoro Demonstration
PS. The deputy head
mistress signs to
the pupils, who have
various special needs.
She told STF: “One
of our deaf girls was
raped last year. She
was 15.”
Sexuality and special needs
A trainee peer educator signs at the Deaf Link-STF training. One asked:
“If you wash your private parts, can you transmit an STD?” A pupil at
Salama School for the Blind reads Young Talk in Braille.
Quinta Apio, a special needs teacher, joined
STF as its Special Needs Coordinator in
August 2009. STF also took on two other
staff for disability in Gulu and Kitgum.
One of Quinta’s frst tasks was to conduct
a baseline survey. As expected, this survey
found youth with disabilities to be more
vulnerable and excluded from information
and services than other youth. As Quinta
explains: “HIV materials have not been
disability friendly.” Rape, deflement, early
pregnancy and school drop out were found
to be common.
The survey also found society profoundly
ambivalent about PWD’s sexuality. “I witness
discrimination against people with disabilities
in hospital,” a nurse in Kitgum told STF. “People look
at them with pity as to how they can also be infected
with HIV. But sex is a normal instinct.”
Adolescents with disability spoke of neglect. “They
want us to talk to their parents,” says Quinta. “Their
parents do not tell them about body changes. The girls
do not know how to pad themselves.” Each disability
has its own challenge. “Blind girls complain that they
cannot see who rapes them,” says Quinta. “They say
their life is harder than the physically handicapped
because they cannot see the world. People do not want
to marry blind girls so when someone suggests love
they feel very happy and easily give in.”
But young people who cannot hear seem the most cut
off from ASRH conversations. Working with Deaf Link,
STF trained 60 peer educators in 2009. One trainee
signed: “If a woman has an STD, can she pass it to her
partner? Or is it only the man who can pass it because
he is the one who gives out fuids?”
Notes STF Executive Director Julie Wiltshire: “Their
intense isolation could be because Ugandan culture is
so oral and aural. The deaf miss out on so much talk,
and the reading culture is not strong.”
In late 2009, STF produced its frst Braille versions of
Young Talk and Straight Talk. A Braille newspaper costs
UGX 12,600: each of the 24 primary schools and 15
secondary schools for the blind will receive fve. Copies
will also go to 30 partner organizations.
Print Director Teopista Agutu says: “We did not just
convert the usual STF papers into Braille. We went
out and got stories from blind children. They said they
know someone is approaching them sexually if they
start whispering or saying unusual words of love, like
offering sweet biscuits.”
By the end of 2009, Quinta had formed links with 72
schools and over 100 organizations. She had hosted 80
people at advocacy workshops in Gulu and Kitgum. In
Kisoro she met with 163 people, including youth with
special needs. A calm and friendly woman, Quinta says:
“I want to serve them and fnd out how they want us to
do things for them.”
Promoting sexual and reproductive health for
persons with disabilities: guidance note
People with disabilities have the same SRH needs as other people, yet often face
barriers... The ignorance and attitudes of society and individuals raise most of these
barriers -- not the disabilities themselves. Services can usually be adapted easily
to accommodate them. Increasing awareness is the frst and biggest step. Beyond
that, much can be accomplished through resourcefulness and involving persons with
disabilities in programmes.
1. Persons with disabilities have sex too.
2. Persons with disabilities want the same things in life that everyone wants.
Considered in society as less eligible marriage partners, females with disabilities are
more likely to live in a series of unstable relationships.
Teachers sensitized in 60 schools in Bugiri, Kaabong, Abim, Kotido,
Nakapiripirit districts
YT peer educators’ trained in above schools
schools and
Teachers sensitized in 30 secondary schools in Bugiri and Rakai
ST peer educators trained in same 30 schools
Students followed up with dialogue on cross-generational sex in 50
schools in Mukono, Wakiso, Mpigi, Masaka, Luwero
Students reached by international volunteers in 20 schools in Rakai
Students reached on “on-call visits” to 72 schools and 10 NGO/CBO
partners in Mayuge, Jinja, Masaka, Mukono, Kasese, Kampala
Students who attended Straight Talk Club Convention from 49
schools in Mukono, Kampala, Wakiso
Staff of CBOs trained to conduct follow-up for STF in Bugiri, Arua,
Kaberamaido, Rakai, Abim, Kotido, Kaabong, Nakapiripirit
District leaders/partners reached through meetings in Bugiri, Rakai,
Namutumba, Adjumani, Moyo, Amuru
Adults and youth reached in village health fairs in Dokolo, Rakai,
Kaberamaido, Adjumani and a teachers fair in Oyam
Adults reached in workplace on sex/HIV/gender (HIPS-USAID,
Parents of peer educators reached with dialogues in Bugiri, Abim,
Kotido, Kaabong, Nakapiripirit, Arua
Community members, peer educators, stakeholders reached on
special needs in Gulu, Kitgum, Kisoro, Kampala
TF’s third stream of communication is
interpersonal or face-to-face. This includes the
work of STF’s Outreach and Training Department
(OTD) in Kampala and its youth centres. Face-to-face
work began in 1996 when Straight Talk started visiting
schools. In 2009, the OTD team worked in 22 districts
and directly reached about 43,492 people.
The golden rule of all OTD interventions is that
participants get a chance to talk. “We are there to
listen,” explains OTD’s Falal Rubanga. “If you rush
people, you do not get anything out of them. They feel
you are not interested in them, that you are just there
to put up a show.”
The total budget for OTD in 2009 was UGX249,562,000
(US$127,981). Coming largely from SIDA, the Civil
Society Fund and Unicef, this amounted to US$3 per
person reached directly, excluding salaries. Face-to-
face contact is more intense than
print or radio. The average
person reached is in contact
with OTD staff for at least fve
If youth reached by CBOs
and peer educators oriented
by STF are counted, then
OTD indirectly reached an
additional 67,940 people,
for a total of 104,406 people
In 2009, the OTD team
partnered with eight local
CBOs and held six district
advocacy meetings, eight
teacher sensitisations, 42
parent dialogues, 12 peer
educator trainings and 25 health fairs. Each team
member spent over 180 days on the road.
Work in schools
Primary: From 2001 through 2008, STF sensitised a
total of 18,765 teachers from 8,367 primary schools.
In 2009, STF sensitised 234 teachers from 60 schools
in the districts of Bugiri, Kaabong, Abim, Kotido and
Nakapiripirit. As an innovation, however, STF linked
its 16-hour teacher package to a peer education
training for pupils in the same schools. The aim is
that the pupils will help teachers, all of whom are
overburdened with multiple duties, to carry forward
HIV and sex education.
Assessed rapidly in May 2009, this dual approach
appears promising. Teachers say the peer educators
have revitalised assemblies, counseling and the
reading of Young Talk. Peer educators are animated
about their new skills. A boy from Arua said: “We talk
about HIV/AIDS. We also show
in a drama what happens
when you are forced to marry.”
Said a girl from Bugiri: “We are
able to teach others. Before
girls could not talk about
menstruation openly. Now
they can say words they used
not to say.”
Secondary: Uganda has over
3,500 secondary schools.
Immense resources would be
required to reach all of them
and, in 2009, OTD reached
about 150. This was not
inconsiderable: most OTD
sessions in schools last many
OTD mobiliser Adreen Kanyesigye in a session with primary school peer educators in Onduparaka PS, Arua.
Outreach and training
A primary peer educator shares her
opinion at the training at El Shadrai PS, Bugiri.
In all, OTD:
Trained 85 teachers and
220 peer educators in
44 secondary schools
in Bugiri, Kabermaido
and Rakai, focusing
on schools around HIV
hotspots such as fsh
landing sites and the
Jinja-Tororo highway.
Conducted “on call”
visits to 17 schools,
reaching over 3,900
students. Among schools
visited were Cambridge
Secondary School, Emma
High School, Comprehensive
College, Buganda College
SS, Masaka SS, and St Janan
Luwum SS.
Worked in 25 schools in Rakai. Ten students from
Munich University led by STF’s Moses Sebbale spent
one month in the district, reaching 5614 students.
“We would start with drama for the entire school,
then break them up into classes and according to
sex,” explains Moses. “In Rakai schools there are
many young positives. People are not associating
with them, and some have even given up on life. The
headteachers were so happy that we had come.”
Visited 46 schools to wrap up a three year project
with PACE-PSI addressing cross-generational sex in
Luwero, Mpigi, Wakiso, Mukono and Masaka.
Hosted an “STF Clubs Convention” on 14 Aug 2009.
A total of 49 schools participated. Naguru Teenage
Centre helped 69 students to undergo HCT.

Work in the
Village fairs: For out-
of-school adolescents
and adults in their
communities, STF runs
village fairs, intense day
long events held in shacks
and under trees. VCT is
offered and DVDs are
played (Unicef’s flm “Sara”
runs for children). But the
main item on the menu is
In 2009, OTD conducted
25 village fairs in Dokolo,
Rakai, Kaberamaido, Adjumani
and Oyam districts, reaching
3,290 youth and adults, about
130 people per fair. Mobilisation is done in advance by
local offcials. “We arrive in the village at about nine.
We are six: two from STF, two lab technicians and two
counselors,” says Falal Rubanga. “HCT sets up, but for
many people to gather, you have to be patient. They
come after digging or fshing. But once there, they
usually stay until evening.”
After people congregate, there is group talk about
“the challenges and common things”, as Falal calls
them. The team then conducts large group pre-test
counseling so that all day people can slip out for HCT.
She then splits the gathering into groups: young males,
young females and parents. “You do not want to mix
them because they are not comfortable,” she says.
Falal has a deep understanding of the HIV and sexuality
issues facing different age groups across the country.
“Young men always ask about masturbation. Fishermen
say: ‘There are no women on some islands. You have
OTD’s Peter Mubala (above) with primary
pupils at a teacher workshop in Oyam. (Below) The
joyous STF Clubs Convention in Kampala.
to do it yourself.’ And they ask about condoms. ‘Since
condoms are not available, can we recycle them?’”
The young women struggle with neglect and violence.
“Parents say the girls just get married early but when
you listen to the girls they say their parents push them.
From the age of 12, parents tell them that they are old
enough to buy their own Vaseline. So the girls start to
cling to boys for support. It’s extreme
In the adult groups, says Falal, the
parents complain that the children
do not listen. “Then they accuse
each other of infdelity. That’s where
we bring in the importance of good
communication. I talk about how there
has to be unity. Sex will be good if a
couple is united. Children will be good
if parents are united.”
Excluding salaries, health fairs cost
about US$5 per person reached. At
the fairs in 2009, 2,729 people tested
for HIV: 101 (3.7%) tested positive, of
whom 61 were female. The prevalence
ranged from over 5% in Dokolo and Rakai to less than
1% in West Nile.
Parent dialogues: In 2009, OTD reached 1,240 parents
of the learners in the schools in which STF conducted
peer education training. Parent dialogues help parents
help their children (e.g., stay in school, manage body
changes) and manage their own sexual and marital
In the day-long dialogues, parents come see that they
can do better by their children. As Falal explains, “They
say ‘Long ago we used to discuss meaningfully with
our parents at the fre place. These days we do not
guide children.’”
Parents also come face-to-face with their sexual
lives through STF dialogues. “A woman will say:
‘My husband is beating me and
has a younger wife. We are not
communicating. When you were
talking, I felt you were talking
about us.’”
Men are often openly frustrated
about sex. “One man was not
having sex at home because there
were children and grandchildren
everywhere. He was buying
prostitutes. He wasn’t happy about
it and said – ‘I think I am going to
stop.’ Other men say that that every
time you want to touch her, there
is a baby hanging off her nipple or
she is saying that the baby is still
Falal starts the discourse by saying that she is also a
parent. “I say that if we go astray, the home is open
to things that can destroy it. I say that a child is like a
stew pot in which you put in ingredients. In the end
you want a nice favor.” Parents are deeply receptive.
In Bugiri, a man, 57, said: “I have three wives. I spend
time with only two of the wives. From today, I realize
that I have been unfair to the one woman and her
A mini fair (above) on an island in Lake
Victoria, Moses Sebbale talks through a microphone.
(Far left) Moses and Falal on the canoe to the isalnd.
(Centre) island lovers: HIV prevelance is 20-30% on
some islands, according to MOH. (Below) STF’s Faith
Working in Karamoja can be a clash
of cultures. Arid terrain inhabited
by deeply traditional cattlekeepers,
Karamoja looks timeless. In fact, it is
a place of turmoil. Besides the armed
raiding, the traditional succession
of elders has not happened for 50
years, leaving younger men angry.

In 2009 OTD focused on the
districts of Abim, Kotido, Kaabong
and Nakapiripirit. With funds
of UGX 138 million, STF partnered with Unicef to
promote enrolment and retention of children in
formal education, persuade parents and teachers of
the importance of adult-child talk, and contribute to
prevention of HIV.
Although the UHSBS 2004-5 found prevalence among
Karimojong to be 1.7%, the lowest of any ethnic group,
it may be rising. Young people are perceived to be
starting sex earlier than their parents’ generation.
Whether or not this is true, they have the same feelings
and pressures as adolescents elsewhere: of 212 letters
received from pupils in Karamoja in the last quarter of
2009, 113 were related to sex. “Is it true that when a
girl starts her menstruation early she has been having
sex?” asked Rose, 16, in P6 at Kotido Mixed PS.
A total of 154 teachers from 40 schools took part in
STF’s two day dialogues on sexuality and HIV/AIDS.
Later a teacher said: “We appreciate how you helped us
to think about the upbringing of our boys and girls. Yes,
our boys value cows more than school and our girls
prefer early marriage. We are ready to address gender.”
In Karamoja, a boy who prefers school to looking after
animals may be thought weak. Young girls are told that
education can turn them into prostitutes.
Teachers responded particularly strongly to the gender
sessions, scoring just 22% on pretests but 82% on
post-tests. A male teacher from Abim said: “We
thought that our wives are the ones to do things that
make our marriages healthy. But you made us know
that good discussion with children promotes healthy
behaviour and staying in school. Second, we learnt
that tolerance and respect for a partner make marriage
OTD staff trained 320 pupils (200 girls, 120 boys) from
classes P5 and 6 for three days to be peer educators.
The training covered: being a boy or a girl; growing up
and body changes; HIV transmission and prevention;
care and support of people with HIV/AIDs; life skills
(self-awareness, coping with emotions, assertiveness,
peer resistance, confict resolution, critical thinking,
decision making); what is peer education?; and how
peer educators can help others.
Following the training, a boy from Komukung Boys PS,
Kaabong, said: “Straight Talk told us
that body changes are normal and that
we should be in school and not begin
sex. We learnt that grazing animals on
school days is bad because they make
us miss school. Girls learnt that they
should not marry early. They should
frst study.”
Peer educators are using what they learnt to reach
other pupils. Most conduct an activity three or four
times a week, such as assembly messages, skits,
educational songs, group talks, and Young Talk reading.
OTD estimates that from September to November 2009,
the Karamoja peer educators repeatedly reached the
entire P3-7 population of their 40 schools – about
26,000 pupils.
Partnering with CBOs
In 2009, OTD entered into understandings with eight
CBOs, four in Karamoja. STF hoped to create win-win
relationships under which CBOs would grow from STF’s
oversight, while STF would have proxies in districts
able to motivate STF clubs and peer educators and
teachers trained by STF. Travelling to districts is costly,
making supervision prohibitively expensive. As a
result peer educator systems can lapse into dormancy.
STF’s expectation was that CBOs would distribute STF
newspapers and support the work of peer educators
every month. For this the CBO would receive UGX
1.6 million a quarter, a fraction of the cost of a trip
up-country. This was calculated on the basis of UGX
40,000 per school visited per month (about $20).
STF assessed 22 CBOs (11 in Karamoja). They had to
have a certifcate from the NGO board or District Health/
Community offces, be formed and managed by local
people, exhibit gender balance, conduct at least half
their activities with youth, and have offce premises
and transparent accounting systems. STF signed MOUs
with the eight that best met the criteria.
OTD trained 85 CBO members in 2009, reviewing STF’s
core values and activity and fnancial reporting. Most
CBOs have had little intellectual and practical guidance
and hungrily devoured the one day orientation, in
many ways pathetically inadequate given the enormous
social problems faced in their commmunities. Susan
Adeke of Youth Alliance in Karamoja in Nakapiripirit,
said: “You helped us to understand more about gender
and being friendly when working with adolescents.”
These partnerships have boosted the number of youth
writing letters to STF, and STF “conversations” in
schools and communities have increased. The CBOs
themselves have found their profle raised through their
“The OTD team was happy that
it saw no naked Karimojong, though
locals say that walking naked is still
a way of life in far communities.”
Jerolam Omach, Director Face-to-Face
link with STF and the trickle of funds that allow them
to be more active. Scovia Bashangire of God Cares,
STF’s Rakai partner, says that the modest STF grant has
enabled them to provide allowances to their volunteers.
CBO workers say they have learnt more about human
sexuality (content) and activity and fnancial reporting
(process). All eight CBOs have managed to submit
monthly reports.
In 2010, OTD staff will meet twice yearly with the
CBOs, refreshing their resolve and bringing them up-
to-date with new STF policies, such as child protection
(e.g. no bad touches).
Having successfully managed these sub-grantees, in
2010 STF will look at the quality of their work and how
it can grow its footprint upcountry with such proxies.
This could be one way STF manages its over 1,400
clubs. If STF had one
CBO per district, how
much would it cost and
how many more people
could STF reach? It is
not yet clear how much
supervision a sub-grantee
In 2009 OTD also:
Visited out-of-school
clubs and youth
groups including
Mwoyogumu Youth

Club, Rakai Town Council Youth Group, Nkumba ST
Club, Nyendo ST Club, Namasuba ST Club, UWEFA
ST Club, Kisilwa Village, Hima Cement Factory, and
Namuwongo Youth Group.
Held advocacy meetings for ASRH in Bugiri,
Namutamba, Rakai, Adjumani, Moyo and Amuru:
351 local leaders attended. In Rakai, the LCV
Chairperson said: “We need STF to help us know
how to handle the too many orphans we have. Just
let us know the things you need to do your work.”
The Moyo District Health Offcer said: “We will
support STF’s youth centre with clinical services.”
Helped train 667 peer educators on tea and sugar
estates and fower farms under HIPS-USAID
Trained 32 staff of CBOs in Pader and 77 new STF
staff in ASRH and youth friendly services.

OTD distributed
US$10,000 worth of
sports gear to the 60
primary schools with
peer educators in 2009.
Each school received
two footballs, netballs,
volleyballs with nets and
chess boards. After sports
events, peer educators
address pupils and hand
out Young Talk.
Parents (left) dance for STF before the start of
the parents dialogue at Lomokora PS, Kotido. (above)
trainee peer educators act a skit in a primary school
in Nakapiripirit district.
Youth Centres
TF youth centres are safe havens for adolescents
and hubs from which staff reach out to schools
and surrounding communities. In 2009, STF’s
youth centres in Gulu (est. 2003) and Kitgum (est.
2007) were joined by mini centres without medical
services in Amuru, Adjumani and Moyo. This expansion,
funded by PEPFAR, was a dream come true.
In Adjumani, STF is the only national NGO focused
on ASRH. Amuru district has no electricity, bank or
resident doctor. STF’s Amuru centre is a shop across an
unpaved road from Anaka Hospital.
As STF rolled out its youth
centre model at speed,
young people poured in. The
Amuru centre had innovative
Saturday morning sessions
for children aged six to nine.
It also ran a young men’s
forum, worked with former
LRA combatants, and called
all its young people “pals”.
In all, the fve centres
gave out just under 85,000
condoms, a great increase
on previous, more cautious
years. Gulu Youth Centre
(GYC) distributed 56,000,
most supplied by the district
health offce.
At the established centres,
medical teams offered HCT,
family planning and STI
treatment. GYC conducted
13,906 tests, of which 5.1% were reactive for HIV in
females and 2.58% for females. Kitgum Youth Centre
(KYC) performed 9,804 tests: of which 2.87% were
reactive for females and 1.68% for males. GYC provided
family planning for 1,043 females and KYC for 452. STI
treatment was extended to 1,763 young people in Gulu;
KYC treated 544 (188 males, 356 females).
There were also on-going groups for young mothers
and young positives, of whom 255 received Septrin
Talk is at the heart of STF’s youth centre model, even
for biomedical interventions such
as HCT. On outreach HCT, KYC
and GYC camp for three nights
in villages so that talk can go on
after dark.
Overall, STF youth centres
reached over 90,000 young
people with a total expenditure
of UGX 782 million (US$400,000).
This was UGX8358 or US$4.20
per person, slightly higher than
in previous years due to the
start-up costs of the mini centres.
A breakdance festival at GYC; (far left)
lab technician Bob Otto tests blood for HIV on
a community camping; (left) young mothers,
who gather weekly at GYC to talk about sexual
health, manage their own savings scheme.
Young People reached in 2009
Gulu 35,462
Kitgum 28,472
Amuru 14,875
Moyo 8345
Adjuman 6203
Total 93,557
young people one-to-one.
Girl, 15: Has had sex with lover. Would like to stop.
Boy, 17: Wants to abstain. Wanted clarifcation on
myths about abstinence.
Boy 15: Tested positive. Feels so bad about it -- says
he has never had sex although his parents died a
long time ago.
Boy, 17: Had no one to sponsor him in school. This
has prompted him to get a girl lover. They will
use condoms.
Girl, 15: Very many boys disturb her. She does
not want to have sex until she has fnished
n 2009, STF devised a log
book to be flled out daily
by each youth centre staff
member. Christine Lamwaka is a
GYC counselor. On 11 November,
she took part in HCT, talked
with seven young people one-
to-one, and met a group of 30
adolescents. In all, she worked
with 47 youth.
Her seven one-to-ones were:
Boy, 18: Has been having unprotected sex, would
like to start using condoms.
Girl, 21: Has a boy who promises to marry her but is
scared because a girl says he has HIV.
Girl, 16: Has boyfriend who tells her to prove that
she loves him otherwise no love anymore.
Boy, 19: Has bruises around his penis.
Girl, 17: Abstaining but friends
say she will not give birth if she
doesn’t have sex.
Girl, 18: Boyfriend says he is
not willing to continue with her
yet she has missed her periods.
Girl, 17: Boyfriend has not
yet tested for HIV yet wants
strictly unprotected sex.
Counselor Angela Anyait was
similarly busy that day. She took
part in HCT, then counseled fve
A day in the life
of a counselor
n 2009 Dennis Kibwola, 31, became
STF’s Director for Northern Uganda.
Manager of GYC since 2003, he
has seen great change, from war to
a “year with no gun shots” in 2009.
But despite the peace, economic boom
and closure of camps, enormous sexual
health challenges persist, says Dennis.
“Boys are back in the villages, burning
charcoal. School is very far away, and
their goals have shifted from education
to starting a family. In the camps, you
could not think of marrying. Parents
would say: ‘Do not bring anyone’s
daughter. We are poor.’ But now boys
can marry. There is food.”
“Girls are in a dilemma. They say the boys are
aggressive. They say: ‘He raped me because I refused
him.’ But the family’s concern is to protect its dignity.
Parents say: ‘I wouldn’t want anyone to know that
my daughter was raped. It’s a disgrace to the family.’
Rape is seen as the girl’s fault. Parents
say: ‘We do not want to be tagged as a
family with loose girls.’ So girls have to
please their parents who want them to
keep quiet. But at the same time they are
worried about their health. It takes a lot
of strength to insist.”
“At STF, we are in confict with culture.
Our message is very clear. If a girl is
raped, rush for HCT, ECP and PEP. We
say: ‘Yes, virginity is dignity and culture
is good, but we are talking about HIV,
pregnancy and being forced to marry
someone who does not love you. Help
your daughter.’”
“We need youth centres in this post-confict time just
as much as before. We have put the young people at
a certain level. We do not want them to slide back. In
my village, GYC did an outreach. People told me: ‘A
woman came with something that looked like a penis.
She opened our ears.’”
“Culture is good but there is HIV...”
Small group talk at STF youth centre in Moyo (left). Counselor Christine
(right, in blue) holds her log book as she has a private one-to-one in Gulu.
The log books help to keep staff on task and
also document critical moments in the lives of
young people. Youth centre staff become skilled
at judiciously suggesting safer options and ways
n 2009, the US foundation MAIA granted STF UGX
41.5 million (US$ 21,230) for work on sexual and
gender-based violence (SGBV).
The objectives of the grant were to: increase
knowledge of SGBV; challenge gender norms that
lead to high incidence of HIV; protect survivors from
HIV, unwanted pregnancies and other complications;
counsel survivors and refer them for legal and medical
help; and empower young people with life skills to
prevent and report sexual abuse.
Over the year, the grant allowed 48 young people to
receive post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), the ARVs
which are taken by an HIV negative person after
possible exposure to HIV to prevent infection.
KYC and GYC lack the cadre of medical professionals
to administer PEP, so staff escort survivors to a Health
Centre IV, the IRC-supported clinic in Kitgum or the
Joint Clinical Research Centre in Gulu and stay with
them until they have been helped. Few of these young
people would have received PEP if it had not been for
The STF-MAIA initiative did much more than PEP,
however, as described below.
KYC’s clinical offcer Liz Adong trained eight females
and seven males, a mix of young people and adults, to
sensitise communities and identify SGBV survivors for
referral. This community action team (CAT) and KYC
staff ran 39 dialogues, reaching 903 women and 1,119
men. Liz also oversaw three live radio shows. KYC’s
areas of focus for SGBV in 2009 were Kitgum town,
Mucwini and Lokung.
All told, 145 survivors were helped: 80 received just
counseling, mostly girls who had come too late for PEP
or emergency contraception (ECP). Another 33 received
medical help from KYC: HCT, ECP or antibiotics to
prevent STIs. Of this group, 19 received PEP. Another
32 were referred for legal services at ANPPCAN.
Liz’s notes contain success stories:
Girl, 16: raped by a stranger at night at home when
her parents went for a funeral. Neighbour reported case
to LC1 who referred her to KYC after hearing KYC radio
show. Survivor given psychosocial support, HCT, ECP,
STI prophylaxis and escorted for PEP. Followed up after
3 weeks, she is doing fne.
Mature woman, identifed by CAT member. Had been
sexually abused by the husband (anal sex or using
other objects) for years. Family dialogue conducted with
the clan leader.

Girl, 16: mother brought daughter for Depo provera
so that she can have sex for money without getting
pregnant (sexual exploitation). Both were counseled,
and follow-up made to ensure girl’s safety.
Jackie Akongo runs the SGBV work at GYC,
concentrating on Paicho subcounty and survivors who
present themselves to GYC. In 2009, she, her colleagues
at GYC and her CAT reached about 1,160 people. She
also facilitated four live radio shows, hosting police,
social workers and doctors. Of the 65 survivors she
worked with, 29 received PEP.
Jackie’s reports present a mixed picture. Alcohol
has been restricted in Paicho, which is perceived to
have decreased violence. The police are also more
conscious of SGBV. But, in at least one instance, it was
a policeman who “defled a girl”. Says Jackie: “When
the case was reported, the constable was transferred.”
She also notes: “the police keep quiet on some cases
because perpetrators pay them some money.” The
following are some of her cases:
Girl, 16: raped while collecting frewood. Did not
report due to shame. Head of a family of four, she
was negative for HIV. Not given PEP or ECP as it was
Working against violence, supporting PEP
Liz Adong, clinical officer at Kitgum Youth Centre,
with a SGBV survivor at KYC.
beyond 72 hours.
Girl, 13: defled by step-father as they went to uproot
cassava. Said the girl: “My father asked me if I knew
how much money he had spent on me and how I was
going to repay it. He raped me, then ran away.” Given
ECP at GYC and PEP at JCRC.
Young woman, 23: gang raped. “The soldiers told
me to put down my frewood and have sex with them.
Because they were many, I had to follow their words.
The three had sex with me one after another.” Tested
negative: given ECP at GYC and PEP at JCRC.
Girl, 5: defled by cousin, 17, while grazing goats.
Mother of girl saw boy
running away half
dressed. The case is
in court. She received
Girl, 16: defled
by uncle. Case was
silenced to protect
image of the home. Girl
conceived and wanted
to commit suicide. GYC
was called and survivor
counseled but uncle
Boy, 18: a couple were
accusing each other of
bringing in HIV since
their child had died of AIDS. Boy tried
to hold the man. But woman, bleeding,
bit the boy. He received PEP.
Gender and PEP
In writing this report, it emerged
that boys were obtaining PEP after
consensual sex. In Kitgum, of the 19
young people who received PEP, seven
were boys (37%). Says Liz: “They have
unprotected sex, usually drunk, and
then rush to test, bringing the girl. If
the girl is positive, we escort the boy to
get PEP. Girls do not dare to come after
sex and cannot make a boy come.”
In Gulu, 9 out of 20 (45%) of those
who received PEP were males. Jackie
notes a boy, 20, who “demanded PEP
because he had sex with a girl he
distrusts and the condom burst”.
Says STF Executive Director Julie
Wiltshire: “These stories highlight the
need to test together before getting to
a point where a condom bursts or you
are too drunk to use one. We have to
be careful not to abuse PEP. It is a one month course of
ARVs, which is not to be taken casually.”
MOH guidelines say that PEP should be free after
forced sex or accidental exposure such as a needlestick
or car crash. They do not address PEP after unsafe
sex. Dr Zainabu Akol, the MOH’s AIDS chief, says it is
“scientifcally correct” to provide PEP after unprotected
sex, but cautions that “the counseling should be very
strong. The boy should be told not to repeat it.”
Boys seem disproportionately able to access this
expensive and scarce biomedical prevention method,
although few report sexual violence. In contrast,
although girls are more likely to experience sexual
violence, including incest and gang rape, they are less
able to access PEP – because of shame and family
silence. In 2010, STF will strive to
make PEP more girl-accessible,
especially for young girls. The
average age of a boy receiving
PEP was 19 compared to 16
for girls. STF will also strive to
address sexuality issues of boys
and their likelihood of resorting
to PEP after consensual sex.
In all, the MAIA-STF initiative
reached 3,400 people, of whom
210 were intensively counseled.
This works out to about
US$6.25 a person. STF thanks
MAIA for providing support in
this critical area.
Jackie Akongo (above) in deep talk about a case
of violence in Gulu.
KYC and CAT talks to the community in Mucwini
about SGBV.
tracking down ARVs and doctors, they have skills
many young people their age lack, particularly the
ability to talk with adults. Both applied themselves
to their internships with a ferocity borne of a lived
knowledge that the world is a tough place. Having
made themselves indispensable, they received
contracts to work at STF in 2010. Gordon was one of
two designers who assembled this annual report.
n 2009, STF hosted seven young Ugandans as
interns. Shirley Bananura worked in radio and
Irene Musiime in Research and Evaluation. In
their S6 vacation before joining university, they
earned UGX 5,000 a day. STF pays interns so that
they can cover their costs of transport and lunch,
although often they save the money for school or
their families.
Five young people with diplomas or university
degrees interned for six to nine months in 2009.
Earning UGX 10,000 a day, they were Jane Nambafu
and Deborah Mbulayina in outreach and training;
David Kizito in radio; Gordon Turibamwe in design;
and Jane Opio in OTD. Competition for jobs is intense
among university graduates, and an internship is a
chance for a young person to become employable.
Although having interns puts demands on staff, STF
learns much from them. In 2009, Gordon and David,
both perinatally infected with HIV, deepened STF’s
understanding of the travails of living positively.
Both are from families of fve children but are the
only ones with the virus. Interestingly, honed by
years of attending support groups and tenaciously
National interns
Gordon Turibamwe and David Kisito, interns in
2009, in design and radio.
International interns
umerous international volunteers were
associated with STF in 2009. Gina Akley
worked on a masculinity curriculum; Warren
Kleban with American Jewish World Service on IT;
Mary Hansen from Mt Holyoke College on a savings
and loan scheme for child mothers; Benjamin
Harms from Princeton on special projects; Johanna
Simon from New York University’s Wagner School of
Business on PR; Emily Simon, formerly of Goldman
Sachs, on fnancial sustainability; and VSO Daryl
Dano on disability. There were also volunteers in
the northern centres from Sweden and Germany. Stuart Angus, a doctoral candidate in Organisational and
Management Studies at the University of Manchester, conducted
ethnographic research for his PhD on the meaning of language at
STF and the extent to which staff believe they respond to the needs
of beneficiaries, a term he called response-ability.
Hannah Corry, a Peace Corps volunteer
served at Gulu Youth Centre for six months,
where Mellisa Adams, a Fullbright fellow, ran a
breakdance for social change project.
a Japanese
and illustrator,
spent six
months as a
JICA volunteer
in STF’s design
009 marked the fourth year of STF programming
in Karamoja. Building on its partnership with
UNICEF in 2008, STF expanded access to its
multi-modal communication programme by starting
Straight Talk radio shows for two ‘doubly-marginalised’
groups, the Pokot and Lepthur, while maintaining the
Ng’akarimojong Straight Talk and Parent Talk radio
shows . “Face-to-face” expanded with peer educator
and teacher trainings and parent dialogues. STF also
trained 25 Junior Journalists to generate conversations
on traditions, aspirations and fears. In 2010, STF will
use the knowledge gained from this rich stream of
participatory communication to expand the breadth and
depth of its work in Karamoja.
This USAID project promotes economic security, peace
and reconciliation, and access to justice in northern
Uganda. As the communication partner, STF uses print
and radio to empower the population and SPRING
Implementing Partners with “actionable information”. In
2009, the communication package included 52 editions
of the live one-hour “Peacemaker” show, 52 of the 30-
minute pre-recorded “Dongo Paco Karacel” (“Together
We Can”) show, 13 live
shows for SPRING partners,
12 spot messages (aired
3,393 times/seven stations),
two issues of Dongo Paco
Karacel newspaper in
Luo and English, one
poster (600 copies),
and two editions of a
Quarterly E-newsletter.
STF also facilitated a
communication skills
“Kacel Watwero”
In August 2008, STF and
World Learning began work
to improve the status of
OVCs in the North with the
“Caring for Exploited and
Vulnerable Children” Youth Leadership Project. Kitgum
Youth Centre worked with the School of International
Training to rapidly assess services; a report of
Special projects
recommendations was released
in 2009. Youth leaders were then
trained, with six groups receiving
small grants. Projects ranged from
advocacy to hip-hop to mentorship
and livelihoods initiatives: 19 youth
leaders and 400 OVCs took part.
SMS Health Search
The Google SMS Health Search and Clinic Finder
service launched in June 2009. Following its
collaboration with Grameen Foundation
AppLab and Marie
Stopes Uganda
during the pilot of
the service, STF
now serves as
the lead content
generation partner
for this mobile
phone-based health
information service.
UNFPA Poster Competition
STF worked with UNFPA on its annual poster contest,
in 2009 on “Women in Development”. STF produced
spots in ten languages (aired on 23 stations/ two
weeks) and a poster. STF hosted poster sessions in
Adjumani, Amuru, Gulu, Kitgum, Moroto and Moyo.
Social Media at STF
To grow its international network and make its
materials more available, STF started a Social Media
push. All recent STF publications are now available on
Scribd at: http://www.scribd.com/Straight%20Ta
lk%20Foundation. Since STF went on Scribd in May
2009, the STF page has received over 35,000 hits.
Donors, partners and individual supporters around the
world can now follow STF on Twitter (STF_UG) and
join the STF “cause” on Facebook. In 2010, STF plans
to podcast its radio shows and revamp its web site.
Speaking for Ourselves
An Assessment
of the Needs, Resources, and Gaps in Services
Available to Children and Youth
in Kitgum District, Northern Uganda December 2008
n 2009 STF’s research and
evaluation team carried out
ten studies. Three were
baseline surveys or formative
research at the onset of new
efforts. Seven were end or mid-
term evaluations. The full list is
as follows:
Evaluation of Parent Talk
radio shows in Lumasaba
2005-9 for PLWHA (PSI)
Evaluation of Parent Talk
radio shows in Lumasaba
Baseline among Madi youth
prior to setting up youth centres and
launching a youth radio show in Moyo
and Adjumani districts (PEPFAR)
Evaluation of STF peer education approach in
primary school in Bugiri and Arua 2008-9 (CSF)
Evaluation of scale up of VCT and FP and STI services
to youth in Gulu district 2007-8 (NUMAT/USAID)
End of project operations research: Engaging
communities – a holistic project for Karamoja region
Feb 2008-Feb 2009 (Unicef)
Formative study of Pokot and Lepthur youth prior to
start of local language radio shows (Unicef)
Evaluation: Straight Talk in Kisoro 2007-9: Fostering
adolescent sexual and reproductive well-being with
communication for social change (Cordaid)
Baseline of SRH knowledge and practices among
youth with disabilities in Gulu and Kitgum (Cordaid)
Evaluation of Teacher Talk newspaper and Parent
Talk radio shows in Lugbara, 4Rs and Luo July 2008-
June 2009 (UNITY/USAID)
All of the above can be obtained from pwalugembe@
In 2009, STF also disseminated its
mid-term evaluation of its 2006-
10 Strategic Plan, entitled It works!
Communication for HIV prevention
and social change in adolescents.
The report is available on Scribd at:
The mid-term and all the evaluations
in 2009 confrmed the robustness of
STF’s model, emphatically so in the
case of local language radio, which
even succeeded in specifcally
reaching people living with HIV,
64% of whom had “ever listened”
to the Parent Talk radio show in

the Lumasaba area.
All the baselines showed the profound need for
dialogue about sexuality and relationships to prevent
HIV infection.
Teacher Talk and Parent Talk
The only study of STF’s print work was the evaluation
of three issues of Teacher Talk for primary schools
and one issue for secondary schools. Of 153 primary
teachers interviewed in Apac, Arua and Ntungamo
districts, 83% had ever read a copy and 50% had
read all three. Of the 35 secondary school teachers
interviewed, 66% had read the single issue for
secondary schools.
One primary teacher said of the February issue on
ethics and the Teachers Code of Conduct: “It is a
refresher course for me, a reminder”.
The same UNITY-funded study
interviewed 301 parents in the
same three districts about Parent
Talk radio shows in their local
languages. “Ever listened” was high
at 88.3% in Apac, 74.5% in Arua
and 70.6% in Ntungamo. Asked
had they learnt something from the
show, 78% of parents said they had.
Men were more likely to say that
they had “learnt something” than
women: 81% versus 73%.
The researchers categorised what
parents felt they had learnt into eight
themes. By far the leading theme,
with 42% of mentions, was “the
importance of talking to and being
Research and Evaluation
STF researcher Evelyn Namubiru (L), now on a masters degree
course in Holland, holding a focus group discussion with parents in West Nile.
Kisoro: multiple-channels
The largest study in 2009 evaluated STF’s work in
Kisoro from July 2007 and August 2009. Because the
district is remote and isolated linguistically and STF
had a large data set on adolescents in Kisoro from
a 2005 Population Council study, this project was a
virtual natural experiment in what communication for
social change, particularly local language radio, can do.
The project appeared to make a profound contribution.
“Ever listened” to a Straight Talk radio show rose from
the baseline of 14% in 2005 to 89% in 2009. The
percentage of adolescents saying they did not know
where to go for information about ASRH fell from 27%
in 2005 to 3% in late 2009. The percentage saying
“don’t know” when asked if condoms are an effective
way of preventing STDs fell from 52% to 7%.
Probably most important of all, the percentage of
adolescents saying that their parents had talked to
them about sex and growing up almost doubled,
while the percentage saying that their parents were
knowledgeable about sex and growing up rose by a
factor of six.
Adolescents who said they used a condom at last sex
doubled, those that said that their last sexual partner
had tested for HIV increased by more than four times,
and the per cent saying they had had sex for money or
gifts in the past 12 months fell by half – although the
sample size was small for these three questions.
STF believes it can trace these changes at least partly
to its work. Almost 90% of young people in Kisoro
had some exposure to STF interventions, with many
having multiple exposures (radio plus print plus face-
to-face). STF’s
analysis suggests
that the project
cost US$0.86
per adolescent
reached per
year. The report
is available
on Scribd at:
In 2010 STF’s
R&E team
will focus on
its core
interventions: its youth
newspapers and radio shows and its face-to-face work.
free with children”. “I am slowly learning what to tell
my children. I did not know what to say before.” said
a mother in Apac. “I have been able to overcome my
shyness and become bold to speak to my children
about their lives,” said a father in Ntungamo.
The second most mentioned theme (16%) was parents’
own sexual behaviour. “For me the main lesson is that
I should use condoms for protection against HIV so I
can be around for my children,” said a father in Arua.
“Learnt about adolescent sexual and reproductive
health” followed closely at 13%.
These strong fndings reinforce STF’s commitment
to parents. Studies show that parents are super-
protectors: their presence and the quality of their
relationship with the children are the greatest
determinants of adolescent well-being.
R & E team: (L to R) Emily Awour, Reserach
Manager Patrick Walugembe, Florence Kyokusiima,
Isaac Kato and Director of Programmes Susan Ajok.
Research manager Patrick Walugembe (L) in a
focus group discussion for the HIPS project in Bukedea
n 2009, STF had a total income of UGX
7,465,284,500 or about US$3,828,351, slightly
less than its income in 2008. But funding for STF’s
core work to improve the well being of adolescents
increased from UGX 4,486,618,475 in 2008 to UGX
5,519,033,172 in 2009.
About 82% of STF’s core income and 60% of its
total income come through the Civil Society Fund.
Administered by Deloitte, CSF manages monies largely
from Danida, Irish Aid, Dfd and PEPFAR. Danida’s
funds are currently earmarked for STF at US$1 million
a year. CSF monies were used for radio shows in 12
languages for youth and shows in two languages for
parents: Straight Talk and Young Talk newspapers;
most face-to-face interventions, including the fve
youth centres in northern Uganda; and to support
salaries and overheads.
Long-standing donor Sida also contributed UGX
166,320,000 to core activities, and the Dutch NGO,
Cordaid, supported the Lufumbira youth radio show in
full and associated activities, including special needs.
Unicef is currently a core funder covering all costs for
STF’s work in Karamoja.
Funding from USAID amounted to UGX 1,015,129,242
(US$520,000), partly to execute partnership projects
such as Everyday Health Matters under
AFFORD but partly for work that is central
to STF’s mission. UNITY, for example,
supported Teacher Talk newspapers
and Parent Talk radio shows. The US
NGO PSI, now constituted as PACE in
Uganda, contributed UGX 394,478,515
(US$202,000) for Parent Talk radio shows
and spots
Funding for natural resources – trees
and farming – amounted to a total of
UGX445,462,563 or 6% of income,
with UGX 289,170,500 for Tree Talk
from WILD-USAID; UGX 10,960,000 from
private philanthropists for tree growing in Kumi;
UGX2,400,000 from the British High Commission for
trees in Yumbe; UGX 9,820,000
from the sale of seedlings; and
UGX 133,112,163 from Danida for Farm Talk.
In terms of its mass media communication, STF spent
21% of its expenditure budget on radio and 12% on
print. Face-to-face communication consumed 19% of
expenditure, breaking down into 9% for outreach and
training, 5% for Gulu Youth Centre, 4% for Kitgum
Youth Centre and 1% for the three mini-youth centres.
UGX 18,653,000 (US$9556) was spent in four months
on work with people with disabilities, a new area for
Overheads and administration constitute about 11% of
expenditure, and about 20% of STF’s expenditure goes
to salaries. The average salary is UGX 865,000 per
month (US$443).
In 2009, STF embraced improved fnancial and
procurement procedures and trained staff on Navision
software and online banking. Additional training on
fnancial and narrative reporting to STF staff was
provided by Deloitte.
Human Resource/Administration
STF has 144 staff, including 77 in Kampala, 24 at Gulu
Youth Centre, 18 at Kitgum Youth Centre and three at
Finance and administration
team: Accounts
officers Josam
Miiro, Patricia
Amito, Nicodemus
Ogwech, Brian
Kaganzi and
Finance Director
Bruce Ntege.
Missing are Finance
Manager Juliet
Waiswa, accounts
assistant Dorcas
Arayo, cashier
Cecilia Kandeke and
internal auditor
Robert Tumwijukye.
HR/Admin team: From left to right: Director of HR and
Administration Christine Abbo; HR assistant Stella Olaboro; and
Administration officer Eva Kirungi. Missing is procurement officer
Draga Carmello.
Natural resources
Capacity Building
ICT Building
Loan Repayment
Expenditure by activity or department
of all funds received by STF in 2009
STF Expenditure 2009
Particulars amount
Print 899,928,318
Radio 1,559,855,047
Outreach department 632,073,750
Natural resources 437,269,821
GYC 354,821,476
KYC 317,698,749
Mini youth centers 109,343,735
Disability activities 18,653,000
Research & evaluation 113,488,968
Partnerships 442,208,644
Personnel 1,493,708,011
Capacity building 59,302,483
ICT equipment 111,450,444
Administration 675,922,621
Loan repayment 122,810,881
total 7,348,535,948
each of the three mini-youth centres. Six STF staff work
in Karamoja. Tree Talk has eight staff, Farm Talk two.
Nineteen new staff members were recruited in 2009.
Some flled new positions such as the posts of radio
journalists for the Madi, Lebthur and Pokot youth radio
shows. Others replaced the 11 staff who left in 2009.
Currently four STF staff members are on masters
courses in Germany, Japan, Holland and the USA.
Tragically, one member of staff died in a motorcycle
accident in Northern Uganda: John Oryem was a Tree
Talk feld offcer in Amuru.
STF spent UGX 52 million on the staff medical scheme,
workman’s compensation and staff training. Staff have
their own staff-run savings scheme called Apple.
In 2009, STF reorganized its HR & Administration
functions. As STF had grown with the number of feld
offces increasing, it became essential to centralize all
payroll and statutory payments in the Kampala offce.
This has resulted in improved performance with faster
payroll processing.
STF is also embarking on an ambitious ICT
improvement scheme to help it better meet the
communications needs of the future.
STF values continuous quality improvement in all
aspects of its operations, including capacity building
and strengthening of systems to become more effcient
and effective as an organization. STF endeavors to
create environments where staff are encouraged to
invest in self development and continuous learning.
A team of ten staff, led by the Director of HR and
Administration completed a Virtual Human Resource
Management training conducted by Management of
Health Sciences (MSH) in early 2009. This training
will assist STF in creating a future HR plan and
incorporating a human resource strategy into STF’s
next Strategic Plan.
Another STF team of ten staff, this time lead by the
Director of Programmes, completed an MSH Virtual
Leadership Development Programme on Monitoring
and Evaluation towards the end of 2009. This capacity
building has helped STF improve the monitoring of
its programs. The VLDP trainers gave very positive
feedback to the both teams’ performances and
enthusiasm in completing the training.
STF is grateful for the support by donors and
organizations to providing capacity building of STF
Department for
YEAR 2006 2007 2008 2009
DCI 368,164,560 84,315,000 - -
DFIDD 1,310,737,247 582,914,388 - -
DANIDA 1,142,888,760 - - -
SIDA 470,000,000 594,208,000 391,857,157 166,320,000
CIVIL SOCIETY FUND - 867,500,000 4,094,761,318 4,545,903,129
UNICEF - KARAMOJA 350,648,196 259,288,093 522,068,345 625,148,034
CORDAID - 76,515,000 82,950,000 181,660,000
Sub Total 3,642,438,763 2,464,740,481 5,091,636,820 5,519,033,172
UNITY 166,303,200 93,831,050 173,758,565 189,938,869
UPHOLD 309,579,589 185,000,000 81,697,875 -
NUMAT - - 40,652,700 29,192,487
PSI (PACE) 214,450,500 168,000,000 462,547,778 394,478,515
CORE 155,119,500 62,010,450 - -
YEAH 298,609,402 206,297,165 149,653,105 -
SFS-PATH 169,815,690 142,856,050 85,640,625 77,245,546
ENGENDER HEALTH - 35,741,991 5,441,700 7,877,500
ARC 30,500,000 17,718,750 - -
AFFORD - 216,245,490 - 102,564,403
HCP in 2007/FHI in 2009 - 63,256,922 - 12,980,000
HIPS - - 154,125,000 241,164,975
SPRING - - 163,288,354 192,290,495
WILD - - 436,574,400 289,170,500
Sub Total 1,344,377,881 1,190,957,868 1,753,380,102 1,536,903,290
TREE TALK (other) 294,988,800 74,975,000 39,425,453 12,220,000
NEMA 13,104,587 - - -
IRC 2,600,000 - - 5,225,000
MLK - SCHOLARSHIPS - 5,083,000 5,026,205 -
UNFPA 31,500,000 69,400,000 17,350,000 45,636,808
FAO – RADIO - - 34,511,001 -
MVULE - SCHOLARSHIPS 201,730,100 210,234,000 29,000,000 -
DANIDA – BIRD FLU 92,250,000 - - -
DANIDA – FARM TALK - 95,296,880 100,827,038 133,112,162
DANIDA – MDG 3 - - 580,000,000 -
DFID – MONEY WORLD - 782,686,455 - -
HEWLETT/TIDES – S’SHIPS/TREE - 65,949,420 25,091,500 10,960,000
BOTTLE TOP - SCHOLARSHIPS - 16,483,688 - -
GTZ –VOCATIONAL CAMPAIGN - - 10,009,005 10,080,400
GRAMEEN/GOOGLE - - 11,371,500 13,744,000
UCB - KIDS LEAGUE - - 22,155,714 1,800,000
CESVI - PADER - - 6,000,000 3,113,025
MAIA – PEP/SGBV - - 32,100,000 41,500,000
SAVE THE CHILDREN – GYC - - 62,380,632 93,157,673
WORLD LEARNING – KYC - - 53,156,300 32,418,970
PATH – WORLD BANK - - 10,290,500 6,380,000
Sub Total 639,173,577 1,320,108,443 1,038,694,848 409,348,038
Total Funds Received 5,622,990,221 4,975,806,792 7,883,711,770 7,465,284,500
STF Board of DiRecToRS
With funds from Dutch NGo cordaid, in
2009 STF started to work with one of
Uganda’s poorest and most marginalized
groups, the Batwa. Former forest people
who are landless, members of this group
are sometimes called “pygmies”.
Batwa women are often sexually exploited
by people they call Abaturaja or “citizens”,
a reference to non-Batwa.
“Abaturaja come to us at night for sex
and give us HiV. We try to stay away from
them,” says Ventina, the Batwa queen.
“Another problem is that we do not guide
our children about growing up. This is
because each one of us cares mostly
about food for survival.”
“The Batwa have shallow knowledge about
HiV,” notes Quinta Apio, STF’s special
needs offcer who spent time with the
Batwa in Kisoro in 2009. “Poverty causes
unsafe sex as they have something-for-
something love.”
Under the cordaid grant 2009-12,
Quinta and her team will meet two Batwa
communities in Kisoro every quarter. At
right is Ventina (with white beads) and her
group of Batwa.
chair: Aggrey
Kibenge, Principal
Secretary, MoeS
oliva Muhumuza,
children’s PS
Dr Frank Kaharuza,
Director, Research,
Rev Gideon
christian Aid
Justina Kihika,
Anne Akia
Fiedler, country
Pathfnder Int’
charles odere,
Advocate, Lex
Mondo Kyateka,
commissioner for
Youth, MoGLSD
ABC Abstain,Befaithful,Condomuse
ARVs Anti-Retrovirals
ASRH Adolescentsexualandreproductivehealth
BCC Behaviourchangecommunication
CBO Community-basedOrganization
DHS DemographicandHealthSurvey
ECP Emergencycontraceptionpills
FGC Femalegenitalcutting
FGD Focusgroupdiscussion
FP Familyplanning
GYC GuluYouthCentre
HCT HIVcounsellingandtesting
IDI In-depthinterview
IDP Internallydisplacedperson
KYC KitgumYouthCentre
LRA Lord’sResistanceArmy
MoES MinistryofEducationandSports
MOU MemorandumofUnderstanding
NGO Non-governmentalorganisation
OVC Orphansandvulnerablechildren
PEP Post-exposureprophylaxis
PMTCT Preventionofmother-to-childtransmission
PSI PopulationServicesInternational
PWDs Peoplewithdisabilities
4Rs Runyankole/Rukiga/Rutoro/Runyoro
SGBV Sexualandgender-basedviolence
SRH SexualandReproductiveHealth
STF StraightTalkFoundation
STI SexuallyTransmittedInfection
UGX Ugandashillings
UHSBS UgandaHIV/AIDSSero-behaviouralSurvey
UPE UniversalPrimaryEducation
USE UniversalSecondaryEducation
In Uganda 12% of girls are married by age 15
and 46% by 18. Married girls face a multitude
of challenges. They usually have less mobility,
less access to media and less autonomy in
decision making than unmarried girls or
married women. They are often isolated from
their peers.
Because they have regular sex that is rarely
protected, they are at high risk of HIV infection:
89% of ever married girls aged 15-19 have
started child-bearing.
Julie Wiltshire,
Director, STF,
President, STF,
is a Ugandan NGO, set up in 1997. It grew out of a
teen newspaper, Straight Talk, started in 1993.
Today it practises COmmUNICaTION
FOr SOCIal CHaNGe. Its main focus is
STF also supports pareNTS and TeaCHerS
to have safer and healthier sexual lives and to help
adolescent have safer transitions to adulthood.
STF adheres to a KNOw yOUr epIDemIC-
KNOw yOUr reSpONSe approach and
follows a SexUal HealTH promotion model.
In 2009 STF worked in 17 laNGUaGeS. STF
communicates through raDIO, prINT and
STF’s is concerned for the well-being of all
adolescents and their families. However, it is
particularly concerned about the most-at-risk,
especially GIrlS, OrpHaNS, adolescents
living wITH HIV or with SpeCIal NeeDS,
and adolescents in complex environments such as
Report Design: Michael eB. Kalanzi
In 2009 Straight Talk
Foundation (STF) produced
over 12 million newspapers
and 5000 half-hour radio
shows for adolescents and
adults. It reached over 255,000
young people, parents and
teachers through its face-to-
face work.
STF’s materials are the main
and often only source of
afrming, values-based
and scientifcally-accurate
information on HIV, sexuality
and growing up in most
Ugandan communities.
STF sends its materials to
18,600 schools, 1780 health
centres, and 1040 churches
and mosques, and 1600 CBOs.
It also works with 450 NGOs.
STF creates “conversations”
to address the drivers of HIV
epidemic and bring about
social change.
In 2009 it began a new focus
on young positives and
adolescents with special needs.
In 2008 STF had 77 staff and interns in its head office
in Kampala. However, with teams constantly traveling
upcountry, it was never possible to get them all together.
The above photo was taken in January 2010. In total STF
has 144 staff across Uganda.
Plot 4 Acacia Avenue, Kololo,
P.O. Box 22366 Kampala, Uganda,
Tel: (256 31) 262030, 262031,
Fax: (256 41) 534858,
Email: info@straighttalkuganda.org,
Website: www.straight-talk.or.ug,
General Scribd site:

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