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Delay Marriage Promote Schooling for Ugandan Girls

by Joy for Children-Uganda
Delay Marriage Promote Schooling for Ugandan Girls
Delay Marriage Promote Schooling for Ugandan Girls
Delay Marriage Promote Schooling for Ugandan Girls
Delay Marriage Promote Schooling for Ugandan Girls
Delay Marriage Promote Schooling for Ugandan Girls
Delay Marriage Promote Schooling for Ugandan Girls

40% of girls in Uganda are married before their 18th birthday and one in 10 is married before the age of 15.

According to UNICEF, Uganda has the 16th highest prevalence rate of child marriage in the world and the tenth highest absolute number of child brides globally – 787,000.

Customary marriages or informal marriages, where a girl lives with an older man, are more commonly registered civil or religious marriages.

11% of currently married 15-19 year old girls are married to men who have more than one wife.

A 2017 World Bank study shows that ending child marriage in Uganda could generate USD514 million in earnings and productivity.

Amid the covid-19 induced lockdown, many young girls have been married off, poverty is one of the key drivers of child marriages in Uganda because parents want money and bride price. The magnitude of child marriage consequences is equally sad most especially to girls. From sexually transmitted diseases, leaving school early and psychological trauma, the future of teenage girls remains at crossroads.

Another terrible consequence of child marriage is teenage pregnancies.

The Population Secretariat indicates that of the 1.2 million pregnancies recorded in Uganda annually, 25 per cent of these are teenage pregnancies.

This means that more than 300,000 teenagers who get pregnant also account for the bulk of unwanted pregnancies, which end up in unintended births or abortion. A lot needs to be done. We need to move beyond legislation and ensure that laws around early marriages are implemented. We need to also adopt a community based approach where we raise awareness in communities about dangers of child marriage.

We recognize the importance of working directly with the target groups as they are the ones who know best what their needs are and what works and what does not work for their communities. Joy for Children Uganda, with support from Girls not Brides Global and the Uganda alliance are working on accelerating the progress to end child marriage; the main goal is to accelerate reduction in Child marriage. Key strategies to achieve the goal include; empowerment of the girl child as an individual; increasing access to information and services for the girl child; creating a favorable and protective social and legal environment for the girl child. This will eventually help in realization of equality and equity among all sexes.

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There has been an increase in the number of teenage pregnancies,stigma and mental health problems in the country y due to the corona virus induced lockdown since the young girls are at home and vulnerable to their tormentors.

According to a UNFPA document on teenage pregnancy in Uganda during and post Covid-19 lockdown, Eastern Uganda (Busoga) has the highest reported cases with Luuka district alone reporting more than 600 cases. West Nile and Ankole regions are also reporting many cases. 

According to a Police report, 4,442 cases of defilement were reported between January and April 2020. The Sauti reported 800 cases of sexual abuse between January and May 2020, including increased cases of teenage pregnancy. 

In 2014, the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development in partnership with UNICEF and other stakeholders, established the toll-free number 116 as the Uganda Child Helpline (UCHL)/Sauti to encourage children and adults to report cases of child abuse and all forms of child rights violations.  

 Health experts argue that because of lack of sexual reproductive services and information coupled with students having to be locked up with their abusers during this lockdown, numerous unintended pregnancies could be one of the negative effects.

Following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic globally, President Museveni in late March, ordered for the closure of all schools and universities with about 15 million learners sent home in a bid to minimise the spread of the deadly virus. Since containment measures in Uganda were put in place, including closing schools and restricting movement, accessing sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) information and services has become very challenging for girls and women. This is on top of cultural expectations surrounding abstinence, which already impacted young people’s confidence in seeking sexual and reproductive health services.

The closing down of all schools due to the COVID-19 crisis coupled with an ongoing restrictions on movement has exacerbated the limited access to sexual reproductive health information and services for young people. In fact, it has invoked fear among district officials, leaders, parents and other stakeholders that some girls may not return back to school due to unintended pregnancies after the long stay at home.

Much as the lock down is necceassry to curb the spread of the virus,empasis and rights of all children shoud be valued so as to avoid the longterm consequences even in post Covid times.

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Collecting data from Arua, Kiryandongo, Isingiro, Kamwenge and Kyegegwa to support advocacy work to end child marriage in Uganda.
Child marriage remains a challenge affecting thousand of girls in Uganda - abruptly putting a stop to their education and exposing them to gender based violence, health related complications and poverty.
While progress has been made in reducing the number of girls getting married, 40% of girls in Uganda still marry when they are below 18 years.
With the outbreak of Corona virus and the restrictions imposed to contain it, many more girls are likely to be married off, become pregnant or even not return to school when the schools reopen.
This therefore calls us to Accelerate progress in ending child marriage and it's associated challenges in Uganda.
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The campaign to end child marriage in Uganda is still on and we are Accelerating progress because we know the importance that comes with empowering girls to realize their full potential.

On June 12th we coordinated a policy advocacy meeting with different stakeholders including members of Parliament, Religious leaders, partners from Ministry of Gender Lbour and Social development and Minisrty of Education and sports and other CSOs to share the road map and how to front the agenda for children especially the Girl Child. We recognize the fact that many girls are currently exposed to abuse as schools remain closed due to Covidpandemic, but we also call upon all stakeholders to play their roles in protecting girls.
A lot is happening as a result of closing schools and girls are confined in homes with their tormentors, teenage pregnancies have been on the rise, violence against children.
Great appreciation to Girls Not Brides globalfor their continued support.

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As the world is dealing with the effects of the corona virus socially and economically, so is Uganda, The country has 160 confirmed cases of the virus, 66 recoveries, and zero fatalities. Covid-19 has not only affected the health sector of the country but all sectors have been affected this because the virus spreads so fast and its airborne, leaving the president with no choice but to put the country under a complete lockdown coming close to two months now. This has had its both negative and positive effects on everyone but the concern is mainly on the vulnerable girls and children whose families have not been able to afford and offer basic needs.

The country has registered increased number of domestic violence cases in families, this is majorly attributed to many women tormented behind the lock down and they are not able to report such unjust circumstances. Children especially the girls are also stuck at home and in the villages with their tormentors.

“Since he had been going out with other women, I requested that we do an HIV test which he rejected. On the day the president announced a 14 day lockdown, late in the night he crept in, held my mouth tight and took advantage of me,”.

Nakawunde Farida(not real name)a mother of five and resident of Kalangala village, Bagezza sub-county, in Mubende district recently called the Action Aid Uganda helpline crying as of New vision 20th April 2020.

Many young people are confined in their homes with their abusers and these are the people they are close to for example fathers, uncles, brothers and other relatives .Women on the other hand have become breadwinners for the families surviving on the little savings they had since some men have resorted to drinking and neglecting the families. Girls have not been able to access menstrual hygiene materials, young children are being affected by malnutrition and hunger since Households are not able to provide basic needs.

The government of Uganda under the office of the Prime Minister donated food stuffs to the most vulnerable households in the slums of kampala. However, this is not sustainable as the country is still under a lockdown and the food provided was not enough.

We humbly appeal to our dear donors to please donate to this cause, we plan to feed 100 families in the slums of Katanga and kamokya in kampala.25 kgs for maize flour and 20 kgs of dry beans can feed a household of five occupants for a month.

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Organization Information

Joy for Children-Uganda

Location: Kampala, Uganda - Uganda
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @joyforchildren
Project Leader:
Joy for Children Uganda
Kampala, Uganda
$49,314 raised of $55,000 goal
657 donations
$5,686 to go
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