SYNOPSIS FOR INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL 2017

International Day of the Girl Child also increases awareness of issues faced by girls around the world. A bigger percentage of the global development initiatives do not include or consider girls, and their issues become "invisible." More than 62 million girls around the world have no access to education. Worldwide and collectively, girls ages 5 to 14 spend more than 160 million hours more on household chores than boys of the same age do. Globally, one in four girls are married before age 18.....Read more

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The Chief Guest, Mr. Alia Jimmy Apumeri, the Ag. LC5 Chairperson Tororo district receiving the petition from one of the Girls’ Rights Club Members.

GIRLS’ RIGHTS CLUB MEMBERS PETITION TORORO DISTRICT AUTHORITIES TO END SEXUAL VIOLENCE AGAINST THE GIRL CHILD

On 26th May, 2017 Forum for African Women Educationalists Uganda Chapter (FAWEU) through the Girls Advocacy and Empowerment Project (CEDAW) held the District Girls’ Rights Club meeting in Tororo with the major objective of sharing experiences and identify cases of sexual abuse the girls faced with the community. The meeting also focused on finding lasting solutions to the sexual violence abuses the girl child is faced with in addition to agreeing on the action points to combat the vice.

The meetings also focused on drawing direct attention to the challenges and violations related to education, Gender Based Violence and Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) in relation to how they are impacting the life of the Girl child in terms of access to social services delivery like Health, Education and protection from the Uganda Police Force. It was also intended to develop an advocacy plan to address the sky rocketing sexual, physical, emotional and psychological violence afflicted on the girl child in addition to high cases of teenage pregnancy, child marriage, defilement and rape.

During the meeting, the Girls Right Club members handed over the petition to the Ag. LC5 Chairperson Tororo district, Mr. Alia Jimmy Apumeri calling for an end to all forms of sexual violence against the Girl Child including; teenage pregnancy, early child marriages, rape and defilement, violent abuse – sexual, physical, emotional and psychological. The petition called for punitive action against the perpetrators of these vices in addition to improved education standards in the district.

Mr. Alia Jimmy Apumeri, the Ag. LC5 Chairperson Tororo district was touched by the life stories and experiences shared by the GRC members and he said that, “The district has committed to continue ensuring that the rights of the girl child are respected, promoted and protected. We have already presented to the Ministry of justice and Constitutional Affairs through the office of the Attorney General two bylaws - ordinances protecting the girl child from sexual exploitation and abuse; and promoting education standards for approval and a team from there will be visiting us in a period of two weeks’ time to conclude this process.”

Mr. Onyango Jorome, the District Labour Officer Tororo appreciated the platform availed by FAWE Uganda and partners to organizer meetings with district authorities. He said, “As a result of the CEDAW project and the different trainings organized for both the girls, their capacity has been built and they are now fully empowered to talk and discuss issues affecting them in addition to advocating for their rights. As Government, we shall do our part including providing social services to address the challenges the youth are facing such as increasing access to health, education and credit facilities like the youth livelihood fund for them both at the district and sub county level.”

He advised that, “The project needs to reach out to as many stakeholders as possible with these sensitization messages/campaigns and meetings to change the mind set, the existing practices and cultural believes that at times condone the negatives practices. People targeted could include; teachers, cultural and religious leaders, local council leaders, elder’s and members of the community to guarantee safety and protection for the girl child.” He further, called upon the district leaders to design creative means of monitoring the schools to avoid scenarios of teachers using and abusing pupils i.e. to dig for them or do their domestic chores while at school.”

 

ASP. Kamulya Sowali, the Uganda Police Force Spokesperson of Eastern Region responding to some of the complaints including the corruption allegation raised by the girls against

the members of Police Force during the meeting.

ASP. Kamulya Sowali, The Uganda Police Spokesperson of Eastern Region said that, “We are dedicating all our efforts as the Uganda police force to fight issues of sexual violence against the girl child though we are faced with major challenges in this struggle including; negotiation by both parents and perpetrators to settle issues of sexual violence such as teenage pregnancy and defilement back door. Parents also forge the age of their children to above 18 years making it very hard to prosecute and investigate such cases.”

On the alleged corruption or bribery among members of the Uganda Police to kill cases, he urged members of the public, “To report such cases of the police force extorting money from both the parents and perpetrators to the responsibilities authorities. Those found guilty of corruption, would not be sympathized with in this operation. He called upon members of the public to follow-up cases rigorously after reporting to ensure that perpetrators are brought to book.”

The Girls’ Right Club members also called upon members of the public to stop girl child abuse and report any case to revenant authorities including the local council leaders (LCs) and the Uganda police force for timely handling. The Non-Governmental organization (NGOs) were also urged to support in training and awareness creation in the communities about girls child rights; and the Government structures at district level assigned to follow-up and ensure that those who violet girl’s rights face the full wrath of the law.

The meeting was attended by numerous stakeholders including the Sub county leaders from the four implementing sub counties of; Merikit, Kisoko,Osukuru and Rubongi; the Girls’ Right Club members, district duty bearers including the Residence District Commissioner, District Education Officer, Chief Administrative Officer, Uganda Police, Gender officer, Head teachers, Learners and Community Volunteer Facilitators.

The CEDAW project is implemented by Forum for African Women Educationalists Uganda Chapter (FAWEU) in Partnership with Plan International Uganda and Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (UWOPA).

SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT DECRIES HIGH RATE OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE AGAINST THE GIRL CHILD IN THE BUSOGA REGION – EASTERN UGANDA

The Speaker of Parliament and Woman MP Kamuli district, The Rt. Hon. Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga has condemned the high rate of Sexual Violence against Adolescent Girls in Kamuli district. This took place during the FAWE Uganda radio talk show held at Kamuli Broadcasting Services(KBS) FM under the theme “Sexual Violence against Adolescent Girls; An Impediment to their Education Right.”

During the radio talkshow attended by other district officials and FAWE Uganda representatives, the Speaker condemned the high cases of sexual violence matted on the girl child including; child marriages, teenage pregnancies, defilement and rape. She called upon the district authorities and the law enforcement agencies like the Uganda police force in Kamuli district and the entire Busoga region to reign on the perpetrators abusing and destroying the future of the adolescent girls.

The Speaker called upon the girls in schools to concentrate and pay more attention to their Education and don’t accept to be derailed by men including the boda boda riders, teachers and the business community. She committed to contributing to the cause of Education for the girl child by supporting child mothers who have return to school with scholastic materials including providing books and school fees. She pledged to discuss the issue on the floor of Parliament in addition to advocating for the establishment of the regional education centers for child-mothers. Kadaga also mooted for the passing of National Re-Entry School Policy to give child mothers a second chance to attain Education for a better future.

According to Ms. Prossy Kalembe, the Senior Nursing Officer at Kamuli General Hospital, “Teenage pregnancy rate at both Kamuli and Buyende districts currently stands at 57%. Defilement by teachers and head teachers is on the increase in Kamuli as well. In Namasagali Sub County, it is alleged that one primary school teacher impregnated four primary school girls with the other two cases reported in one Sub County. Three primary school girls were also reported to have been married off by their teachers in Wankole Sub County and one impregnated by her own father.”

Ms. Prossy attributes the high teenage pregnancy rates to the negative effects that come along with poor parenting, rigid patriarchal cultural norms and gender inequalities; high illiteracy levels and lack of family planning services in the two districts. She adds that, the teenage pregnancies and child marriages at Buyende district were at 4.4%, higher than the national percentage of 3.2%. Meanwhile the Adolescent Girls representing Girls rights clubs from the different sub counties in Buyende and Kamuli tagged the overwhelming vice (defilement) on male teachers who are so disrespectful towards the pupils they teach. The girls also went ahead to express their dissatisfaction towards the unfriendly sexual reproductive health services they receive at health centers and cited abusive health officials, who charge defilement victims examination fees in addition to giving inadequate drugs.

According to the Uganda Demographic Health Survey (UDHS 2016), teenage pregnancies have increased from 24% to 25 % in urban areas and 26 to 27% in rural areas, with Eastern Uganda leading at 29%; with 35% of teenage mothers having no education. 17.2% of maternal deaths in Uganda are adolescents (15-19 years) and 27% of the deaths in pregnant adolescents is due to unsafe abortions. The study continues that, “Child marriages in the Eastern region stands at 52%. With the HIV prevalence rate among the young people (15-24 years) standing at 3.7% and higher among female adolescents at (3%) compared to males at 1.7%.” The Daily Monitor Newspaper of February 10, 2017 also revealed that 500 girls are infected with HIV/AIDs in Uganda weekly. The Daily Monitor Newspaper of Thursday, January 12, 2017, also reported that a total of 300 minors/girls were defiled in Kamuli district in the year 2016 only.

UGANDA parliament, inter parliamentary union reflect on CEDAW

The Parliament of Uganda together with the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) organised a seminar on CEDAW between 14 to 15 June to reflect on the progress of this convention and parliament’s role in the implementation process. The seminar was led by Rebecca Kadaga, Speaker of the Uganda Parliament, with the participation of Ekwee Ethuro, Speaker of the Kenyan Senate, Phillipus Katamelo, an MP from Namibia, and Hilary Gbedemah, a CEDAW expert from Ghana. Some of the priorities identified during the seminar included: dealing with gender inequalities in the economy and family; improving the health of women and girls; and encouraging bills by private members to tackle sexual offences and amend discriminatory legislation. Uganda has not submitted a report to the CEDAW Committee concerning the status of its implementation of the Convention since 2010. As a result of the seminar, the Ministry of Gender committed to sending the country’s report to the Committee by the end of 2017, after consulting with Parliament. Participants discussed issues such as gender-based violence, equality in the law, girls’ right to education, the health of women and girls, and women’s economic empowerment. They highlighted priorities,

Including sexual and reproductive health education, policies on women’s ownership of land, and oversight of implementation of the country’s Domestic Violence Act. Ugandan MPs also called for ratification of the Optional Protocol to CEDAW, which would enable the CEDAW Committee to receive individual complaints on breaches to the Convention. Cissy Kaamu, Plan International Uganda representative presented the health situation of girls in Uganda highlighting UGANDA parliament, inter parliamentary union reflect on CEDAW high rates of teenage pregnancy, HIV prevalence and domestic violence as biggest challenges affecting girls and women. Participants developed an action plan on the priorities. The seminar also provided a forum for an exchange of knowledge and experience between Ugandan men and women legislators, parliamentary staff, international and regional experts, civil society and other concerned national and international institutions

Kamuli district reports 57% increase in teenage pregnancies

In the week of 10th July 2017 the promoting girl rights through CEDAW project held community awareness campaigns in the districts of Buyende and Kamuli in a bid of creating more awareness on sexual violence (specifically child marriage) against adolescent girls; it’s short and long term effects and influence attitude change at home, community, and district levels to support girls to enroll, stay and complete their education. The week long activity, that attracted political and technical duty bearer’s right from Sub County to district levels together with CEDAW girl’s rights club members presented statistical  facts  that had overdue hindered  the wellbeing of children more especially the Adolescent girls between the ages of 10 to 19 years.

Teenage pregnancy increase from 24% to 25 % in urban areas and 26 to 27% in rural areas however Eastern region dominating with 29%. (UDHS2016)

35% of teenage others having no access to education. (UDHS2016)

17.2% adolescent maternal deaths between to 15 -19 years. (UDHS2011)

27.8% of death in pregnant adolescents ((UDHS2016) and the others being the increased prevalence of HIV in the region  standing on 3.7% with 2.4%   comprising  of 15 to 19 years HIV. According to

The biggest emerging highlight however in the campaign  was the statement  that presented teenage pregnancy  at 57% in Kamuli , speaking at Wankole sub county headquarters ,Kamuli District, the  senior principle nursing officer Kamuli general  referral  hospital  (sister Prossy Majimbi ) mentioned that  kamuli alone has 57% of adolescent pregnancies (approximately  6 of 10 adolescent girls are either pregnant or have a child already  per Local Council 1 zone in the district  ).she expressed that this had been attributed to the negative effects that come along with poor parenting, rigid patriarchal cultural norms  and gender inequalities high illiteracy levels and  and increasing cases of defilement that leave the sensitive adolescent girls  at the mercies of unbearable circumstances.

In Namasagali subcounty a primary school teacher impregnated four girls, in Wankole a father impregnated his own daughter and the police had affected the arrest of the father already .said Afande Kagoda Head of children and family protection unit Kamuli central police station.

Meanwhile Adolescent Girls representing Girls rights clubs from the different sub counties in Buyende and Kamuli tagged the overwhelming vise (defilement) on male teachers who showcased a lot of disrespect towards their pupils, the girls also went ahead to express their dissatisfaction towards the unfriendly sexual reproductive health services they encounter at health centres to those that have fallen victim of teenage pregnancies.

The Resident District Commissioner Kamuli district H E Ddumba Moses who presided over the events appreciated Plan international and Forum for African women educationalist for the great efforts towards exhuming these ever growing evils, he earmarked that the most appropriate way to nurture such behaviors was through creating a robust network of commited people from grass roots to the district levels to support much more awareness on the dangers on early marriage and teenage pregnancies.

In Buyende the district police commander ASP Muhammed Kirumira attributed these problems to a weak leadership structure from grassroots going upwards, poor mindsets, laziness, extreme poverty and corruption.

UTILIZING THE GIRLS’ RIGHTS CLUB APPROACH IN SCHOOLS TO BUILD CAPACITY OF GIRLS TO CHAMPION THE FIGHT FOR THEIR RIGHTS

On 13th to 31st March 2017, Forum for African Women Educationalists Uganda Chapter (FAWEU) under the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) project conducted a training on Girls’ Rights Clubs (GRCs) in 32 schools in Tororo District.

The two day training aimed at building the capacity of GRCs (girls) in schools to know and exercise their rights, build their confidence to speak out on issues of girl rights abuse, sexual and gender based violence and refer cases of abuse to relevant authorities. It also focused on training boys on girls’ rights in order to change their negative attitudes, perceptions and practices towards the girl child hence reducing gender inequalities. It further aimed at recruiting boys as allies to supporting girls’ rights in schools and communities.


The girls who attended the training appreciated it and committed to use what they had learnt to advocate for their rights. One of the girls’ rights club member from Okeara Primary school noted that, “The training is going to empower us to be careful in making decisions related to sexual abuse and also ensure timely reporting of such abuse to relevant authorities like the police for action to be taken against people who target and abuse us.”
During the training, facilitators from FAWEU and Community Volunteers also presented various modules of Champions of Change including: being assertive, awareness on gender, body confidence, being informed about Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health, living free from Gender Based Violence, being non-violent in personal relationships and being champions of change committed to gender equality. In addition to FAWEU empowerment tool for young girls and boys “TUSEME” approach, overview of both FAWEU and Plan International Uganda CEDAW project and child protection were also shared.


The training took place in 32 schools and was conducted for two days in each of the schools including Okeara Primary school, Rubongi Primary school, Manjasi Secondary school and Bukeddi Secondary School. It was attended by both adolescent girls and boys between 10 -19 years of age in Tororo district. Each girls’ rights club in school comprised of 33 girls and 30 boys all amounting to 2,016 (1,056 female and 960 boys).

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