In Uganda, child marriages continue to affect pupils’ retention forcing many young people to drop out of school. While child marriages affect young girl more, it affects boys as well. In the month of July 2019, with support from Mundo Cooperante, we embarked on training girls, boys, teachers, parents, local and religious leaders from 10 schools in Mukono district on Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH), eliminating sexual abuse and ending child marriages.
We learnt that:
· Parents have unknowingly fueled child marraiges by not providing basic needs such as sanitary pads and scholastics materials to young girls. Unfortunately girls resort to engaging in transactional sex in search for basic needs. This sometimes ends up in unplanned pregnancies forcing young girls into child marriages.
· Poor parenting has contributed to child marriages. Unlike in the past where families had unwritten rules and regulations governing homes, today many children continue to lead a life without guidance and support from their care takers. With no supervision, children have resorted to watching age inappropriate films/movies that introduce them to early sex. With this we intend to focus our discussion on parenting to remind parents of their responsibilities in raising children.
· Boys continue to drop out of school joining petty trade such as sand mining, charcoal burning and selling, timber cutting and rice growing. Unfortunately, when these earn incomes, they seduce young girls who drop out of school ending up in child marriages. Our focus is to ensure that boys as well complete school a strategy that could help reduce on child marraiges.
· The poor sleeping arrangement is contributing to child marraiges. Many parents especially in fishing and crowded communities with in Mukono tend to have one room accommodating all family members. Unfortunately, some children have gone ahead to narrate to fellow pupils instances when their parents engage in sex. This exposes children to early sex. We will share our process as we discuss with parents the challenges of a poor sleeping arrangement.
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