Betty lives in Kampala’s Ki-Mombasa slum, where women face several barriers when trying to access family planning services. But that all changed in March when The Challenge Initiative, its implementing partner Jhpiego and the Kampala Capital City Authority held an outdoor event to bring free family planning services right to the Ki-Mombasa community.
“I’m so happy to be here, I’m going to get a chance to get family planning,” said Betty, a 32-year-old mother of six. “I have had children without a plan but now I’m happy because I won’t be having children unless I’m ready.”
Orphaned as a child and forced to drop out of school, Betty ended up married at age 18. Her husband no longer lives with her and their children, so Betty works part-time as a hair stylist to support the family. But the money she earns is not enough to cover even her children’s school fees. Her 14-year-old daughter accompanied her to the integrated community outreach event where a variety of health services were offered, in addition to family planning.
“I’m excited for this opportunity because before, even if I had wanted to take my girl to get any of these services, the money would be a barrier and I would not be able to,” she said. “Now that I’m here for a free service, I want to utilize all the services that are here.”
Betty said she had heard some family planning methods can cause headaches, but after receiving counseling, she is excited to choose a method and may consider one for her older daughter.
“I have made up my mind that I need to use family planning,” she said. “This is an opportunity to speak to someone to help me know how to help my children to make sure they make the right decisions when they’re older.”
The Initiative is implemented by Jhpiego locally in Uganda under the Tupange for Better Cities brand.
In the video below, Betty is interviewed by Stacey Solomon – U.K. celebrity and the Initiative’s family planning champion through Comic Relief – at the integrated community outreach event on March 6.