The ”Talking Campus” – Uganda

by eliza252

I’ve recently returned from a long period of fieldwork in Rwanda, examining the exhumation and ‘reburial’ of human remains within mass graves. My work draws on themes of focus within medical anthropology and I’ve been enjoying the blog contributions from the medical anthropology community here at Edinburgh.

The text and images below were kindly forwarded by Kate Doyle after I recalled her showing me the pictures upon her return from Lake Bunyonyi. The lake sits within a remote and beautiful area of Uganda, situated just over the border from Rwanda. I hope you also find the photographs thought provoking.

Laura Major (PhD candidate, Dept Social Anthropology)

Kate Doyle graduated from the MSc in the Anthropology of Health and Illness at Edinburgh in 2008. She is currently a consultant working on gender and HIV in Rwanda. She writes:

The photos you see were taken during a visit to a secondary school located on a small island in Uganda’s Lake Bunyoni, The headmaster was very proud of what he called their “talking campus,” with these small signs dotting the pathways between the classrooms and dormitories.

The signs illustrate the strong impact that ‘ABC’ – abstinence, be faithful, condomise – HIV prevention campaigns. In Uganda, ABC has seen a considerable focus on promoting abstinence only, especially for young people. This focus has drawn considerably criticism from health and human rights organizations in recent years.

The messages do however indicate an openness to discussing sex, sexuality and HIV with young people. In neighboring Rwanda, where I work, such discussion is still considered very taboo – which is a challenge for HIV prevention in a country where the majority of the population is aged below 25 years.