Supporting street children with Hashtag Gulu - News from Omoana - January 2024

We first met Mike and Irene, the director and accountant of Hashtag Gulu, in 2022 following a referral from our accounts and administration officer who lived in Gulu. They explained to us how their organisation came about and what they do. A year later, after taking the time to check the conditions of the partnership and reflecting together on our mutual contributions, here we are, working together on a brand new project: art as a tool for social integration for children in conflict with the law.

In Uganda, thousands of children and young people live and work on the streets and are affected by poverty, hunger and violence. They are rejected, feared and stigmatised by the local community, harassed and arrested by the police, with the risk of becoming criminals for lack of other viable options. Moreover, most street children and young people are already accused of a variety of social ills, and many end up in juvenile detention at least once during their childhood.

The project set up by Hashtag Gulu therefore aims to improve their social integration by using artistic activities to help them develop a positive attitude towards responsible living during, and after, imprisonment, while identifying and developing their talents. In addition, forum theatre is used as a platform for exchange with their community.

The project focuses on young people living on the streets and minors in detention, their parents and members of their communities. In this way, as the young people prepare to live harmoniously in their communities, their parents/guardians and the wider community also prepare to accept them. This is done by strengthening the capacity of these young people to defend their own rights. To this end, the following activities are being implemented: training in forum theatre, scene creation and presentation to communities; artistic training in music, dance and painting; awareness-raising events for parents and communities; parent-youth exchange meetings; and workshops for parents to reinforce a positive parenting approach.


Testimony of an artist from the show Resilience - News from Omoana - January 2024

I’m a 27-year-old HIV-positive person, a highly motivated leader and an active defender of sexual and reproductive rights (SRR), particularly for people living with HIV. I am a former beneficiary of the “Omoana House” project. Now, at St. Francis Health Care Services (hereafter: St. Francis), an Omoana partner, I hold the position of Youth Coordinator. This position allows me to strategically influence the DSR/HIV programmes for young people in the country. I am also director of the Jinja Network of young people living with HIV/AIDs (JNYPA), a network that promotes meaningful participation of young people living with HIV/AIDs and a stigma-free environment in the Busoga sub-region. Finally, I founded Batabaazi Culture Troop, a community-based cultural information and advocacy organisation on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, using Afro-centric and artistic approaches (music, dance and drama).

I lost all the important people in my life: my father when I was two weeks old, my mother when I was 14, then my grandmother and my uncle in a short space of time. I nearly dropped out of school, I stopped taking my antiretrovirals (treatment for HIV). My life went downhill, with no hope and no one to talk to for advice. I was depressed, but thanks to Omoana House, which is part of the St. Francis partner health care services, I was cared for, rehabilitated and brought back to school. I was able to get a diploma in accountancy and I can’t wait to go further. Today, I’ve created my own family. I have two beautiful children, a daughter and a son.

As a result, the Resilience show – which was due to be performed in Switzerland in November 2023, but had to be cancelled due to visa refusal – was a great way to showcase the kind of resilience I’ve shown along the way. I was, however, happy to be able to share this show in schools in Uganda, to bear witness to my journey and inspire other young people. I would like to thank St. Francis and Omoana for their continued support of young people living with and affected by HIV.

Nyanzi Huzairu,
Resilience performer and former Omoana House beneficiary

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The start of a new decade - News from Omoana - January 2024

After celebrating its 20th anniversary, 2024 marks the start of a new decade for Omoana. As at the beginning of each year, it’s time to take stock of the past year, but also to look forward to the year to come.

On a personal note, I joined the organisation nearly 2 years ago and what made me want to apply has only been confirmed: Omoana is based on strong values and puts people at the centre of its projects. This last year has enabled us to consolidate our team. With the Director and the Accounting and Administration Manager, we now form a functional and efficient trio, supported by a Committee that has confidence in us. We’re learning from each other, and the spirit of goodwill is alive and well. I can say without shame that I am happy and proud to be in my position as coordinator, in a job that is meaningful and makes sense.

In terms of projects, I’ve already been lucky enough to go to Uganda 3 times, to meet our various partners and beneficiaries. As a result, strong relationships have been forged, guaranteeing fluid communication, real identification of needs and constant co-creation of solutions. Each time we travel, it’s so rewarding to discover the teams’ new ideas, the energy they put into their activities and their unwavering determination to have a positive impact!

As Omoana matures, it stabilises but also grows. Refocusing on specific areas of activity, expanding into Iraq, supporting new projects for children affected by violence – these were the aims for 2022. In 2023, this has been achieved, thanks in particular to the renewed confidence of our backers and donors. The work is intensifying and, as with every new project, this comes with risks that we have identified and measured.

In 2024, we’ll be focusing on increased fundraising and closer relations with our donors. There’s no shortage of ideas, and we’re already planning a number of events, the details of which we’ll reveal in due course.

So what can we wish for Omoana in this new year, and even decade? Probably a successful expansion, continued bonds of trust between all those involved and activities that continue to serve our mission. For our part, in any case, it’s with enthusiasm and motivation intact that we embark on 2024. I wish us, and all of you, the best of years!

Chloé Collier
Program coordinator

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Discover the Ugandan adaptation of Les Trois Cloches by Jean Villard

To see the video

When people are born with HIV, society sometimes makes them believe that they will not be able to lead a normal life. However, if they are given the necessary means and care, they can live long and healthy lives, just like any other individual.

We are delighted to share the Ugandan version of Jean Villard’s song “Les Trois Cloches”, adapted by young people supported by Omoana, in which they talk about resilience.

Many thanks to Mukungu Enock Jonathan, Mutesi Sharon, Kasoga Winnifred, Nabiryo Esther, Hussein Fazil, Nyanzi Huzairu, Bazibu Micheal and Reagan Giriwa for this wonderful creation.

This video is part of a series adapted from our show Resilience, which had to be cancelled.

With the support of the Fédération Genevoise de Coopération.


Discover the Ugandan adaptation of Abbé Bovet's Old Chalet

To see the video

We are delighted to share with you the Ugandan adaptation of Abbé Bovet’s song “Le Vieux Chalet”, on the theme of resilience in the face of HIV/AIDS.

Many thanks to Mukungu Enock Jonathan, Mutesi Sharon, Kasoga Winnifred, Nabiryo Esther, Hussein Fazil, Nyanzi Huzairu, Bazibu Micheal and Reagan Giriwa for this beautiful creation.

This video is part of a series adapted from our show Resilience, which had to be cancelled.

With the support of the Fédération Genevoise de Coopération and the City of Bulle.

20 years of achievements

It's time to take stock of the past few years:


Direct beneficiaries

Have been reached


Children affected by HIV/AIDS

Have been welcomed and given individual follow-up to enable them to undergo medical and psychosocial rehabilitation



Have been financed



Have benefited from microcredit projects



Have benefited from agricultural training to help meet the basic needs of children in a sustainable way



Most of them affiliated with armed groups during their childhood, have benefited from individual therapy to deal with trauma



Have received training on psychosocial issues


Of people

Have been sensitized on issues relating to the inclusion of children living with HIV, people suffering from trauma and the prevention of gender-based violence.



Employees in Omoana projects since its creation



Collected by the association to date

Young Ugandans, denied visas but examples of resilience - La Liberté (FR)

We’re talking about Omoana!

Read the article in the daily newspaper La Liberté about the refusal of visas to our Ugandan artists, and the work the organisation has done over the past 20 years.

To read the article (in FR)

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Discover the vivo Uganda mental health project on video!

Between 1986 and 2006, Northern Uganda was in the grip of a conflict between the Lord’s Resistance Army and the government.

60,000 children were kidnapped to be recruited as soldiers. Now adults, many of them still suffer from disorders linked to the trauma they experienced.

Using Narrative Exposure Therapy, our partner vivo Uganda and its counsellors are treating these disorders in order to contribute to the dignity of those affected and to peace in the Gulu region of northern Uganda.

Find out more about their work in video.

For further information, visit: Vivo Uganda


This video was made thanks to the support of the Fédération Genevoise de Coopération.


Show cancelled in Geneva because actors were denied visas - Léman Bleu (FR)

On Friday 10 November 2023, at the Palladium in Geneva, we were supposed to present RESILIENCE, an artistic testimonial by young Ugandans born with HIV, recounting their life journey.

After 6 months of preparation and 1 week before their arrival in Switzerland, their visas were all refused, forcing us to cancel the show.

Adrien Genoud, our director, talks to Lucie Hainaut for Léman Bleu about this injustice.

Report in full

Developing social skills and preventing violence

Since September 2022, Omoana has been implementing a participatory process with his partners with the aim of improving their practice in psychosocial support and violence prevention with young people. This process aims to look at the lessons learned from past and current activities in order to propose improvements. It has taken place thanks to funding from the “Sharing Knowledge” fund of the Fédération Genevoise de Coopération (FGC).

Our partners in Uganda run activities to develop young people’s social skills. Improving self-confidence, communicating with friends, family and the community and managing emotions are all aspects of life that can be worked on to build resilience in the face of adversity. At several levels, our partners also address different types of violence that affect certain vulnerable groups of children and young people, whether physical, verbal, emotional or economic. Preventing discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS, combating gender-based violence and raising awareness of the mental health condition of people formerly affiliated to armed groups are all specific issues that have been addressed for many years. Admittedly, our partners do not all work with the same population groups. However, the mechanisms of oppression are often the same. There is considerable potential for exchanging best practice when it comes to preventing and responding to violence of all kinds.

"Through discussions, games and exercises, these interactive sessions have been designed to help young people question their relationships with themselves and with others, so that they can develop their own resources in the face of adversity and see difference as an asset".

Adrien Genoud, Director of Omoana

Developing social skills and preventing violence among young people

Creating interactive sessions for young people

Between September 2022 and January 2023, Omoana and its partners worked on technical sheets for conducting group sessions with young people on the following themes: Self-awareness- Self-confidence- Emotions- Stress management- Anger management- Conflict management- Mechanisms of discrimination- Trust- Collaboration- Healthy and toxic friendships- Social networks- Inclusion of people living with HIV/AIDS- Gender-based violence- Inclusion of people living with disabilities- Inclusion of people formerly affiliated to armed groups. The social workers and former beneficiaries, who are now active as mentors for other young people, have set up new sessions with the support of Omoana. In February 2023, they presented them to the other partners at a workshop. Using discussions, games and exercises, these interactive sessions were designed to help young people question their relationships with themselves and with others, so that they can develop their own resources in the face of adversity and see difference as an asset.

Testing solutions through Forum Theatre

During these workshops, participants also received introductory training in forum theatre. Forum theatre is an interactive technique that forms part of the Theatre of the Oppressed, developed by Augusto Boal in Brazil. It enables the creation and presentation of short scenes linked to social issues that expose a situation that needs to be changed. After an initial performance, the audience is invited to replace an actor on stage and try to change the situation, while the performance is replayed. Other actors respond by adapting their character, maintaining or adjusting their power of oppression or exploitation in relation to what has been changed. Forum Theatre offers a way of testing solutions through action. The audience makes and evaluates all the choices. During the workshop, the participants particularly appreciated this tool, which they will use in parallel as part of their activities with young people to address the social issues mentioned above.

This process finally led to the creation of the “Youth together” manual, which will provide partners with a framework for conducting sessions with young people. It will also make this new method deployable in other contexts and projects.

If you would like to receive the manual, please fill in the form at the end of the project page HERE.