Our journey began in 2009 at Nile Vocational Institute, Jinja, Uganda where I met Dr Margaret Basaza who worked with African Enterprise. Dr Margaret passed away last month after a lifetime dedicated to improving the health of the most vulnerable in Uganda.
I was fortunate to learn from her about the importance of training people to think critically and understand the consequences of the decisions they make around relationships and sexual health. I remember her saying that she was tired of working at relieving the symptoms of poor health decisions and wanted to work at prevention with knowledge and critical thinking to lead people out of ignorance.
Dr Margaret introduced me to the Cycle of Poverty that starts with Ignorance. People make unwise decisions without even knowing that the consequences can lead to death or deepening poverty.
If we replace Ignorance with empowerment to make decisions in the area of reproductive health we can reduce numbers of maternal deaths and unplanned pregnancies and ever increasing family size. This in turn will reduce poverty.
Imagine if youth were led, guided and trained to analyse behaviour and decisions before they began families of their own; it could prevent deepening poverty into another generation. With this in mind, Dr Margaret gave me hours of wise counsel and encouragement to continue in the Wise Choices for Life training.
She was also a strong advocate of Hosea 4:6, “My people perish through lack of knowledge”, as she has seen too many unnecessary deaths in young mothers and so was excited to work on a prevention strategy that would lead people to the truth, as written in John 8:32, “When you know me, you will know the truth and it will set you free.”
One of her greatest disappointments was the lack of male involvement in the cycle of pregnancy, birth and lack of fathering skills. This is why Wise Choices for Life is a unique ministry as our target group are men.