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Masaka leaders embrace project to keep old girls in school

By Eddie Ssejjoba

Added 31st March 2018 01:24 PM

A preliminary survey says girls who join Senior One aged between 15 and 17 years, are likely to engage in sex-for-something relationships as they come from poor backgrounds and they need to meet their everyday requirements.

Masaka leaders embrace project to keep old girls in school

A preliminary survey says girls who join Senior One aged between 15 and 17 years, are likely to engage in sex-for-something relationships as they come from poor backgrounds and they need to meet their everyday requirements.

PIC: Prof. Fred Ssewamala speaking to some of the leaders after the launch of Suubi4Her study. (Eddie Sejjoba)

EDUCATION
            
MASAKA - Leaders in the greater Masaka have welcomed a project geared towards supporting older girls in school to overcome sexual temptations.

This was during the launch of the Suubi4Her Study, a research project funded by Washington University School of Medicine in the US, through the International Centre for Child Health and Development (ICHAD) in Masaka town recently.

The increasing number of teenage pregnancies and growing HIV prevalence rates among young people in the region has been attributed to risky behaviour exhibited among girls who join secondary school at an older age, thus the need to end this.

A preliminary survey says girls who join Senior One aged between 15 and 17 years, are likely to engage in sex-for-something relationships as they come from poor backgrounds and they need to meet their everyday requirements.

At least 1,260 girls, who enrolled in secondary schools this year (Senior One) aged between 15 and 17 years, will participate in the study, which will be conducted in 42 schools in the districts of Masaka, Rakai, Kyotera, Lwengo and Kalungu.

The project supposes that the majority of the older girls come from communities affected by poverty and HIV/AIDS. Therefore, the project will come up with interventions to financially support them to remain in school.

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Some of the leaders, head teachers and teachers from the five districts of Rakai, Masaka, Kalungu, Kyotera and Lwengo at the launch of the suubi4Her study (Credit: Eddie Ssejjoba)


While some will be trained in vocational skills and be supported to startup small income-generating projects, others will be facilitated to open up savings accounts in selected banks.

According to Jenifer Nattabi, one of the project co-ordinators, those who save in the banks will have their savings matched with a contribution of at most $10 (about 36,000).

The interventions are geared towards helping the girls meet their education expenses so that they are not tempted to get money from men who sexually exploit them.

Godfrey Kayemba, the mayor Masaka municipality, appealed to teachers, parents and communities to help teenage girls live their dreams of pursuing their education.

He said Masaka was awash with cases of school dropouts because many girls resort to having sex with men for survival and end up getting pregnant.

Prof. Fred Ssewamala, the director ICHAD, said the girls in the study will receive healthcare, including HIV screening.

Those who will be found HIV-positive will be enrolled on antiretroviral therapy (ART), he said.

In addition, according to Ssewamala, the project will provide regular sex education, which he said is expected to reduce risky behaviour and improve academic performance. 


 
 

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