Nyabutono Gorret Kasiisi Project Girls' Program
Uganda has recorded around 20,000 cases of COVID-19 and about 200 deaths. The government acted fast, closing borders and shutting schools in March.
Since then we have had no face to face contact with our girls. Our programs supporting their reproductive health have been put on hold. and we have been unable to reach a whole cohort of girls who have begun their periods in the last year. Normally we would be ensuring they understood the changes to their bodies and emotions, were given accurate facts about reproductive biology and had lessons in how to make resuable menstrual pads.
We have seen the impact of the epidemic in rising girls' dropout rates in classes that returned to school in November. Increased unemployment and falling incomes have led families to encourage early marriage and jobs in the informal employment sector - helping in shops, roadside fruit and vegetable sellers, agricultural work. Teen pregnancy rates are on the rise forcing girls to lose education.
In an attempt to provide and support we can we went on the air with phone-in radio programs directed specifically at girls - although we hope their brothers listen too! Topics covered included puberty and teen pregnancy, parent child relationships and childprotection, sexulally transmitted diseases, gender based violence, and posiitve self esteeem, nurtition and body image.
We hear that schools are due to go back in January. It won't be soon enough for many of our girls, we can't wait.
Keeping safe during the epidemic