The current corona virus pandemic has changed the original plan of our project. By this time we would have been doing in person mentorship session with teenage girls both from school and at home. However, this has not possible because we have to maintain social distancing.
However, we decided to run a media campaign against early marriages and we are happy to report that between July and November 2020, we conducted 11 radio talkshows. This talkshows were schedule at a time when most young people tune in. Listeners were given opportunities to call and ask questions, tell their stories or seek clarifications.
Our in person sessions are expected to return in February 2020.
Due to the COVID-19 pandamic and subsequent lockdown measures by the Ugandan government, our project fucused on preventing 500 teenage girls in Gulu from early marriages, were until now put on suspension.
Since March 2020 the government of Uganda suspended all public gathering of more than five people along with closure of all schools. Since our project focused mainly on interaction between project staff, volunteers, community members and school and community teenage girls, we were until now not able to continue with it. However, we plan to resume with the project in due time when the government eases restriction contacts which would allow us to continue with the project.
During the lockdown period however, we have decided to shift focus abit and contribute to the fight against the corona virus. We have been reproducing information from our ministry of health and the world health organization and translating these information in local languages to help the community understand how to keep safe and avoid infection. We have also been distributing hand sanitation equipment like handwash containers and soap to public food markets which are allowed to operate
CEOU organized a stakeholder meeting in January 2020 to come up with strategies to keep girls at school and reduce on teenage pregnancies. Among the stakeholders that participated were community leaders, politicians, representative of civil society organizations and parents. The topics dicsussed were education of girl child, mentorship, girls as leaders, health of teenage girls and roles of communities in supporting girl child. Finally the stakeholder meeting ended with goal setting.
In February 2020, a conference bringing together 200 teenage girls from 5 primary schools, were organized and conducted. This was one platform were teenage girls were able to identify problems that affects their struggle for a better and just future. Key points which included traditional belief, poverty of their household and access to justice for the abused, were documented to push for policy changes.
As part of the initiative to prevent teenage girls from early marriages, one radio talk show was hosted at Radio Rupiny, in November, to educate the public on the benefits of educating girl child and to launch a public campaign against early marriages. Topics included gender equality and how it influence development, providing equal opportunities to young people regardless of sex and how culture can promote welfare and dignity of teenage girls. Men are being used as key stakeholders to drive this campaign forward.
5 girls clubs were formed in in five primary schools within Gulu district. A curriculum for training girls’ club members were developed and disseminated within selected schools.
An acre of land was obtained to build a community local resource center to benefit girl child, through hosting mentorship program, hosting girl’s debate on topics affecting girls and hosting community meetings with respect to addressing girl’s issues.
3 CEOU staff members were trained on how to work with teenage persons with disability in promoting girl child welfare and preventing early marriages. Training included sign languages as a means of communication.
Eight (8) mentors were trained in Awach and Paicho. Following the training of the mentors, a total of 12 mentorship sessions were conducted to 40 girls from both Awach and Paicho between June and August 2019. Topics included career development and family planning.
A traditional theater play was created to educate parents and girls about the importance of educating a girl child. Parents of teenage girls in Labwor, Awach teamed up to come up with a play titled “Wek latin nyako okwan” literally meaning let the girl get education.
A manual to guide senior woman teachers for two schools were created. It is expected that senior woman teachers from all the two selected schools (Awach primary school and Paicho primary school), can use a simplified guide and manual in delivering teenage-friendly school programs, designed to keep girls at school.
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