MA IDS Thesis Projects

Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

College

College of Theology, Arts, & Sciences

Department

International Development and Service

Degree Name

International Development and Service, MA

First Supervisor

Dr. Teri Murphy

Keywords

sexual health, sexual education, structural violence, culture, Uganda

Abstract

With the 2nd highest fertility rate in the world and the 5th highest population growth rate, Uganda’s ever increasing number of inhabitants is becoming a hindrance to the nation’s ability to develop socially and economically. Despite the push for increased family planning services and sexual health services by the international community and national government, translating words into effective action has been met with cultural beliefs and behaviors blocking the road to changing sex practices within Uganda. Through conversations with the employees of Musana Community Development Organization in Iganga, Uganda, this research explores the complexity of the barriers standing in the way of an effective sexual health transformation in this East African nation. The results reveal just how deeply culture is embedded in the hearts and minds of the local people. The biggest deterrent preventing effective sex education is the gender disparity. Men, in particular, are reluctant to face their own participation in gender based structural violence. They are also reticent to see the need to become allies on behalf of the women in their community. Additionally, the research discloses the depth of the silence surrounding sex conversations with adolescents, opening the discussion regarding how to move away from teaching abstinence while maintaining cultural propriety.