Written in bold, large fonts at the top of their webpage is the declaration: “We Strive to be Champions of Better Health”, and that is exactly what Better Health Action Group Uganda is turning out to be. Better HAG is a non-profit initiative with focus on Reproductive and Sexual Health, and in September 2011, they were given an AWDF (African Women’s Development Fund) grant of USD $1000 in support of their big, hairy, audacious goal: “… seeking a world of better health with no cases of preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths, where people can access sexual and reproductive health (including HIV and AIDS) services as well as exercise their health rights, and where vulnerability to children in all angles is greatly reduced.”
They are not only bold about their goals and vision, they are physical about it too; having recently made Sports and Events – S & E’s as they call it – one of their means of reaching out to and empowering women, girls, and the people in the community. They saw in football and netball, an invaluable opportunity and ability to bring together people of all makes and ages for a period of fun, interaction, togetherness, and all sorts of possibilities. These sports not only mobilise a lot of people in the community for interaction and information, but also bring them together for education and capacity building. This occurs through their engagement in the planning and delivery of the sports events, and their actual participation in them.
It is through these mediums that Better HAG empowers the participants – girls, youth, and women – in capacity and skills, whiles the sports commentator of the event provides the educational points for reform or advocacy. This is done during the sport activities, where the commentator would educate the crowd and players on the details of a particular issue of concern, say HIV/AIDS prevention, gender equality, child protection, etc. The people are not only educated on these, but also on the best values of the sport that they are engaging in, such as team-work, cooperation, respect for team-mates and other players, and these lessons linked to life values such as leadership, discipline, and conflict resolution. By doing all these, Better HAG helps in grooming happier, healthier, more responsible and protected girls, women, and society … bringing themselves several steps closer to their fierce, audacious goals!
Started in October 2008, in Uganda, by human health rights and development activists, Better HAG is focused on “an advocacy for accelerated realization of women and girls’ health rights”. Not only have they worked hard to sustain this, but they have also given it a new and wider lease of life, by using sports as yet another platform for reaching and empowering the people on life-changing issues.
Here at AWDF, we are very proud of our grantee, Better HAG Uganda. Our belief in excellence and the capacities of females to reach great heights is highlighted in their achievements. We hold the deep belief that if women and women’s organizations are empowered with skills, information, sustainable livelihoods, opportunities to fulfill their potential, plus the capacity and space to make transformatory choices, then we will have vibrant, healthy, and inclusive communities. Without a doubt, a hard-working entity like Better HAG fits just right into what we here at AWDF, hold in value when thinking of grants, support, and progress on issues of Reproductive and Sexual Health for women in Africa.
AWDF says “Kudos” to Better HAG!