COVID-19 an illness that is caused by the Corona virus doesn’t seem to leave people’s lips at the moment. My major concern is about this global pandemic and how much it is affecting and going to continue affecting girls and women. Talking of all the restrictions and the precautions that are there, it is the young women and girls that are affected mostly and is there anything that has been put in place to see that these issues are handled?
Right now there is a lock down, travel restrictions, closure of schools and so many other precautions have been put in place, talking of the school closure, many girls are at a risk of child labour, early marriage by their parents, sexual exploitation which will increase the issue of teenage pregnancies, school dropout and others.
Not leaving the travel restrictions, most of the small businesses that employ young women and girls are also closed. For example the saloons, shops, restaurants and many others and they are unable to access them so this will put them to a very high risk of poverty meaning they cannot afford to sustain their families and themselves at large, these young women shall be forced to look for all the possible means to see that they can provide basic needs to their families, they will go for sex from the old men to see that they get some money.
The reproductive health services are not accessed right now due to the lock down and this will increase on the cases of STIs, HIV/AIDS, several unwanted pregnancies that come along with so many other social costs and negative effects both in the short and long run.
Most of the load done at home is done by the girls for example taking care of the grannies, the young ones, the sick and every one there and we are not so certain of when this pandemic will come to and end while girls and young women are being affected.
Gender based violence is at an increment since the men are spending 99% of the time home, so for any mistake done by the young women, they can do any harm to them and also sexual harassment may arise
I just want to join hands with other fellow social activists and call upon all the partners and stake holders to support the girl child in Uganda to design programs that are to help them in this turbulent moment. Let girls remain girls!
A steering committee Member – Girls Not Brides – Uganda Chapter
A girl leader – Rhythm of Life - Uganda