GIRL CHILD EARLY MARRIAGES
KAMULI- A research sponsored by Plan International indicates that many young girls in Kamuli district abandon their businesses, for sex trade.
The video clips of the research were viewed on Monday by students from different schools and well-wishers during the ‘Saving Innocence Challenge’ finals of Uganda’s best high schools, held at Theatre Labonita in Kampala.
The research was an initiative of Uganda’s Ambassador for Women and Girls, Esther Nakajjigo. Other sponsors were Hill Water, Youth Empowerment Link, European Union, French and Danish Embassy.
“Many young girls leave villages and go to Iganga town to engage in sex trade,” stated a research by the students.
Hilda Kayaga, a student from Mt. St. Mary’s Namagunga, added, “We started a business for our child mother but it was difficult to convince her to leave prostitution because she supported it.”
Nakajjigo says during her visit to Kamuli, she observed that there was no future for hundreds of young girls that were being married-off to men for materialistic gains.
This, she said prompted her to send a team of seven girls from the city schools to Kamuli communities to intervene in order to end the vice, which they did.
The schools are Trinity College Nabbingo, Princess Diana High School Munyonyo, St. Mary’s College Lugazi, Mt. St. Mary’s Namagunga, Homeland College Lugazi and Budo Senior Secondary School.
Among the schools, Budo emerged the winner of the ‘Saving Innocence Challenge’; Namagunga took the second position while St. Mary’s College Lugazi were the third.
“Budo students were very resilient and unique in their research. They started a business for one of the child mothers and took her to school,” one of the panelists Aidah Bukubuza observed.
Although Home Land College Lugazi was not among best three schools, it produced one of the thrilling videos that moved people’s heart. The clip shows how the girls climbed the slippery Iganga hill to find their child mother in vain.
It also shows how one of the students (name disclosed) entered into a truck and was pulled out by the owner, who dragged her to his room wanting to defile her.
However, as the man was undressing in another room, she discovered that the child mother was in chains, rescued her and fought the man as Police came to their rescue. The man was later bundled onto the Police van, taken to the Police station and the child mother disappeared.
Professor Badru Kateregga, the Kampala University Vice Chancellor commended the scouting move, saying it helps in reducing child marriages in rural areas.
“Do not aspire to become a mother when you are still young because it is very dangerous,” Kateregga advised.
He also expressed gratitude to the girls who participated in the challenge for the perseverance and struggle they went through to ensure the girl child is happy in this country by avoiding child pregnancies.
“Thank you for fighting and struggling to ensure that women are free in society,” he said.
Kateregga also called upon government and other institutions to support the move.
Virk Georgensen, the ambassador of Denmark said the girls have set an example to all Ugandans to try to help needy people.
“It is a brave move by girls coming out and talking to single mothers of the same age. We should learn from them to help the needy,” he said.
Georgensen also called upon Ugandan government to address the issues of child marriages in rural areas, saying it is rampant.
“The authorities of Uganda should take up the move because this is the issue that is supposed to be addressed in order to end child marriages,” he said.
We have a country programme where we support a number of activities and human rights are very high on our agenda.
Angle Nakai from prince Diana High School said it was a great experience and advised fellow students not to engage in sex before marriage. “Students should work hard to pursue education than engaging in sex when they are still young.”