Nubuwati at home with her children.

The Challenge Initiative released a video Nov. 11 to show what life is like for a woman living in an urban slum. The video features Nubuwati Tezigatwa, a 38-year-old mother of seven children who lives in Kampala, Uganda, in the Ki-Mombasa slum of Kawempe District.

The video was shown at a pre-conference urban reproductive health event before the International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) in Kigali, Rwanda, that was co-hosted by the Initiative and the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population. A panel moderated by the Initiative’s deputy director, Kojo Lokko, focused on the realities and challenges faced by women like Nubuwati and the urgent need to provide them with access to contraceptive information and services.

“Now is the time for us to take action to address this urgent need in our urban areas,” said Lokko, referring to the rapid population growth occurring in cities located in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. “We can’t wait to act 10 years from now.”

In addition to Lokko, the panel featured Nubuwati, Janet Adongo, a senior technical specialist with Jhpiego who works with the Initiative’s East Africa hub, and Dr. Isaiah Chebrot, who is the division medical officer for Kampala Capital City Authority.

Nubuwati attended an integrated outreach event supported by the Initiative in March 2018 and chose a permanent family planning method – tubal ligation. The video documents her journey from that event, through the procedure and, now, her new role as a family planning champion in her community.

Before the outreach event, Nubuwati said she heard family planning may cause fibroids or cancer. Now she knows those are just some of the myths and misconceptions that persist in urban slums.

Lokko noted the critical role city leaders, like Dr. Chebrot, play in implementing programs to improve family planning outcomes and sustaining those programs. The Initiative lets cities lead their own family planning programs by contributing their own resources and designing their own programs. The Initiative, in turn, provides coaching and technical assistance, as well as support from its Challenge Fund.