The Accelerating Rates of Teenage Pregnancies in Uganda

On July 5th2017, SpringBoard Uganda and Uganda Youth Alliance for Family Planning and Adolescent Health (UYAFPAH) organized a half-day learning event with various civil society organizations, religious and cultural leaders attended at Imperial Royal hotel. The theme for the day was “How to reduce the accelerating rates of teenage pregnancies in Uganda".

The objectives of the event were to;

  • Understand the roles of religion in addressing child and teenage pregnancy.
  • Present the role of CSOs in addressing teenage pregnancy.
  • Establish a working relationship with partners working on ending child and teenage pregnancies in Uganda.
  • Identify and share advocacy issues that CSOs can jointly work on in a sustainable manner.

During the workshop, an insightful presentation was made on the rate of teenage pregnancy and child marriage in Uganda. It was concluded that Eastern and Karamoja regions have the highest rates of teenage pregnancy compared to other regions of Uganda due to the frightening hunger rate in the regions. Furthermore, Uganda is ranked as the 9th Hotspot of child marriage in the world.

Child marriage is a violation of Article 16(2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which says “Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses”.

A girl from Remnant Generation shared her story of teenage pregnancy. She narrated that Prior to the pregnancy; she lived with her step-mother who had her biological children leaving with them as well. She left in search of her biological mother who stayed with her uncle. Upon reunion, her mother was not happy to see her. She became homeless, was raped, and became pregnant. The remnant Generation now takes care of her. She calls upon all the parents, especially the fathers to look after their own children, and the mothers to support the girl child. She is grateful to the Remnant Generation.

The reason for early marriages is rooted in the traditional and social norms, poverty, bias against girl child education among others. According to UNICEF, approximately 35% of girls drop out of school because of early marriage and 23% do so because of early pregnancy (UNICEF, 2015).

 In Uganda, the teenage pregnancy rate is 24% with regional variations. This increases to 34% in the poorest households. In rural areas, 24% of girls experience early pregnancy compared to 16% of wealthier households and 21% of urban girls (UNICEF, 2015).

The practice of early marriage is still prevalent in Uganda and is highly associated with lower female access to secondary education.  In regions where girls are married before the legal age of 18, female secondary education is lower (OECD, 2015). This is because when a girl child drops out of school or is being denied access to secondary education due to traditions or extreme poverty, they opt for marriage as a source of wealth to the family. These resources are sometimes used for payment of school fees for the brothers/family use due to the current high rate of hunger, especially in Eastern and Karamoja regions. This limits girls’ access to secondary education because once a girl child is married off, they are vulnerable to sexual intercourse, and this primes to teenage pregnancy among girls.

Teenage pregnancy upsurges when girls are denied the right to make decisions about their sexual health and well-being. Extreme poverty, harassment, and threats of sexual violence often avert girls from attending school and causing them to be increasingly vulnerable to Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).

There is a need to encourage girls to go back to school after delivery, train senior male and female teachers to provide sexuality education and counseling to students and parents because investment in the girl child is an investment in the future.

Girls must also be trained to have the aptitude to make decisions about their own bodies so that no girl is left to endure an abusive situation where she cannot thrive.

 Let us not worry about what a girl will become tomorrow and forget that she is someone today.

By:

Sandra Aceng

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Press conference on the Month of the Woman Entrepreneur (MOWE) 2017

The Month of the Woman Entrepreneur (MOWE) is a global event and in Uganda is celebrated in the month of November annually since 2006 when it was introduced by the International Labor Organization-Women Entrepreneurship Development and Gender Equity (ILO-WEDGE) project. Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association Limited (UWEAL) in partnership with ILO and the Government of Uganda has been playing a leading role.

MOWE is celebrated annually to appreciate women’s success and inspire a million others who are still held up in the confines of cultural and gender norms or lack capital, information, knowledge, and skills to start a business that needs support.

The theme for this year’s MOWE is “Trading across Borders”. This is because only 1 in 5 companies of export are owned by women due to the poor quality of their products among others. This year, UWEAL will focus on adding critical systems and technology for women to do business across borders.

On 1st November 2017, UWEAL and all her partners involved in the MOWE celebrations piloted a press conference to enable all partner institutions to highlight their involvement during the Month of the Woman Entrepreneur (MOWE) 2017.

Representatives from all partner institutions gave a highlight of the activities they are doing/plan to do during the MOWE as UWEAL mark their 30 years journey, which has been tough though rewarding at the same time. UWEAL has managed to establish 25 chapters countrywide and facilitated women to network. The organization that started as a brainchild of 6 women now boosts with over 10,000 members countrywide among others.

Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) is among the partner institutions and will be shepherding an online campaign with the hashtag #WomenEntrepreneurs and participating in a panel discussion on “How to maximize ICT for trade” during the annual conference slated for 29th-30th of November 2017.

UWEAL and her partners will conduct training and expose women through networking to improve entrepreneurship skills among women in Uganda. This is because UWEAL’s mandate is to carry out capacity building, networking to gain opportunities that support women in their business, advocate for women’s access to financing, and participate in government procurement.

The press conference was then adjourned with UWEAL showing gratitude for her partners for being with them and officially invited the partners for the annual conference that is scheduled for 29th-30th of November 2017.

By

Sandra Aceng

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Revisit to resist: Histories of the movement to end gender-based violence

Memory is resistance. When your story is silenced or challenged, remembering the truth is critical. And when we document our experiences, we pass on the lessons we learned. For 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (25 November – 10 December), Take Back the Tech! wants to look back (and forward) at the movement to end gender-based violence – to digitize and preserve our memories and examine them for lessons we can use now and in the future.

In 1993 the United Nations adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, recognizing that women have a right to live without violence, and two years later the Beijing Platform recommended related actions for states, civil society, and the private sector. Women around the world have been organizing and agitating for an end to gender-based violence for decades, from streets to servers, from consciousness-raising groups to hashtag conversations, from Take Back the Night to Take Back the Tech!

Let's tell the story of the movements that make up this global surge for change. How did your movement start? Whose stories are missing from the mainstream narrative? What impact has technology made? What lessons from the 90s are useful for our activism today?

Share the wildest protest, most powerful statement, the bravest act of solidarity. Spotlight the creative ways people take action. Shout out influential artists, activists, and outcasts. This is your movement! Get curious about your feminist history and celebrate our collective power as we continue to resist.

Take action!

1. Keep it alive!

Help us build a Museum of Movements to showcase materials from the movement to end gender-based violence. Dig into your history and share artifacts from your community like old or recent flyers, t-shirts, buttons, videos, graphics, radio shows, podcasts, zines, essays, and blog posts. You can document in two ways:

- Upload media files to https://vrr.im/09cb along with a text, ODT, or Word doc with the following info: media file name, date of media creation, media creator (optional), country, and a brief description.

- Tweet links to your artifacts using #feministmemory.

2. Examine it!

Whose work needs to be more visible? What are the most creative organizing strategies you've seen? How do you engage on GBV from a politics of care? We're producing a dialogue on these issues from activists in different countries. Share it from https://www.takebackthetech.net when it goes live and joins the conversation in two ways:

- Share your memories, ideas, and questions on Twitter with #feministmemory.

- Interview someone from your movement and share the results in the medium of your choosing. Tweet a link with #feministmemory or submit it to sara.baker@apcwomen.org to be published on our site.

3. Open it up!

How can we strengthen our collective knowledge? What tech tools enable stronger, more open resistance? Join our Twitter chat with Whose Knowledge? on the use of technology for feminist knowledge sharing and resistance in a digital age on 7 December at 17 UTC by following #feministmemory.

4. Give it a feminist lens!

How do you define feminist movement building in a digital age? We're relaunching the Feminist Principles of the Internet (FPI) website, so watch for more information about FPI actions and follow #feministinternet.

Claim your history in the movement. Expand your vision as you build a feminist future. Revisit to resist and take back the tech!

Article first published on the Tech Back the Tech Website

https://www.takebackthetech.net/take-action/2017-11-06

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