The traditional practice of paying a bride price to the girl's parents makes it more attractive for their families to encourage early marriage instead of sending their girls to school. Most girls married at an early age suffer during child birth as their bodies are not ready for reproduction. Yet the majority of these girls do not have a voice on family planning. Child Equal Opportunity Uganda is running a community-led campaign against early marriages of girls and supports their education.
Traditionally, in rural areas of Gulu district (Northern Uganda), the education of girls is not a priority in most families. Also, the practice of paying a bride price to the girl's parents makes it more attractive for their parents to marry them off to wealthy men before their 18th birthdays instead of sending them to school. Most girls married at an early age suffer during child birth as their bodies are not ready for reproduction. Yet the majority does not have a voice on family planning.
Child Equal Opportunity Uganda (CEOU) is creating a community center where young girls can come and take part in mentorship programs. The aim is the empowerment of girls concerning their rights, sexual education as well as support when they encounter problems at home. Also CEOU will launch a public campaign to reach out to the girl's parents and the community to prevent early marriages of girls and to advocate for girls' education via radio talk shows, community meetings and school visits.
It is expected that parents of young girls will end the habit of marrying off their daughters before their 18th birthday, hence keeping them at school to complete their education. 500 teenage girls will rise up and speak for their rights to education and be able to make own decisions that have positive outcomes for their futures. Maternal mortality during child birth is expected to reduce due to reduction in teenage pregnancies and due to reproductive health supports to girls.
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