When Harriet was 15, two life-changing things happened. The rebel Lord’s Resistance Army finally left Uganda, allowing families like hers to return to what was left of their homes. That same year, she gave birth to her first child. Suddenly, she and her husband, Emmanuel, had to look to the future. But that seemed impossible.
Reproductive health stories from Pathfinder and beyond
At 15, Fausta gave birth to her first child. By 23, she had four. Like many girls on Uganda’s Bussi Island, Fausta felt pressure to marry young and grow her family fast.
Focus Area: Adolescent and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health, Contraception & Family Planning
By midmorning, the sun heats the beaches of Jaguzi, a small island in Uganda. Fishermen find relief under the shade of a large tree. Behind them, Lake Victoria stretches for more than 200 miles.
Dorothy was married and pregnant by 18. By 22, she had five children. That’s what happens when you are a woman living with no choice about your body.
The idea of a solar suitcase was born in Nigeria when American doctor Laura Stachel witnessed physicians performing an emergency cesarean section on a woman even after the lights went out. In countries like Nigeria, giving birth can be a risk to both the life of the mother and her child for a myriad of reasons. Giving birth is even riskier without dependable access to adequate lighting and the electricity that supports it.
Susan Akajo Oregede has dedicated the past several years of her life to changing gender norms in Uganda, daring to challenge resistance, tradition, and even her community’s leaders to address issues like women’s equality, gender-based violence, and adolescent sexuality.
To reach the village of Kitugutu, you must be prepared. “The road is not good. You have to move out of your car and walk. It can be terrible, and on a motorcycle—deadly.” None of this stops Harriet Kengonzi, a registered midwife, from making the trip to provide essential family planning, maternal health, and HIV care.
Pathfinder International's Country Director in Uganda, Lucy Shillingi, shares her experience as a part of a dynamic project in rural Uganda where young women are empowering themselves and their communities providing family planning services by the light of solar lamps.