In a colorful Day of the Girl Child celebration on 12 October, 2021 , the girls presented a position paper. Read below:
Dear Maama Janet Museveni/First Lady
I stand here before you today to represent the collective views of the girls of Uganda who participated in the National Girls Symposium on Friday 8th,October ,2021 at Hotel Africana organized by the Ministry of Gender Labour and social development and Civil society organisations with over 30 girls in attendance.
In respect of this year’s theme; Digital Generation - Our Generation, we collectively came up with recommendations to the different state actors and civil society organisations that we believe will assist in enabling us to attain access to digital platforms for all girls in Uganda.
Ensuring- that the digital generation is inclusive irrespective of age, location, and household income status. This can be attained through providing community based free internet to enable girls from the different communities to have free digital access, and by making data affordable for all users.
Sensitise parents so that they do not have a negative attitude towards girls using digital tools because the world is changing and it is key that parents support the transition.
Digital education should be introduced at all levels of education; from early childhood development, primary level ,secondary level and tertiary education institutions.
Digital devices should be tailor made to cater for children living with disabilities so that they can as well benefit from all the digital platforms.
Affirmative action for girls and young women interested in studying ICT related courses so as to break the gender space in the ICT related field.
The digital platforms should be used for reporting Violence Against Children but also these reports should be followed up and perpetrators punished according to the policies set up.
Create awareness on the already existing laws e.g on child pornography and ensuring that reported cases of cyber bullying and sexual harassment are followed up and perpetrators are punished accordingly.
The National Ugandan parenting guidelines should be adjusted to cater for sensitization of parents on how best they can support their children in the use of digital tools. This is in response to the speedy digital revolution especially in the education system.
However, in light of the above, we also recognize that the fight to claim digital generation does not belong to the Government and other non state actors alone; we therefore pledged to play our responsibility as follows;
We should research and use the digital platforms created for us for effective learning.
Ensure that we take part in ICT lessons at school to improve our digital skills
Reporting cases of online cyber bullying to government applications like U-Report, The Sauti Child Help line 116, Safe Pal and others.
Sensitize fellow girls about the existing child protection policies and laws.
Put in action the knowledge acquired from the national girl’s symposium and to report whatever may seem not right in our communities eg defilement of children/girls, child marriage and sexual harassments.
We will take up the parental guidance seriously and encourage other girls to also respect guidance provided by their parents and caregivers.
We shall encourage other girls about the need to decide what is good and bad for them online and confidently make wise decisions.
May God bless you maama and our dear President
Thank you for Listening to Me. For God and My Country.
(Position paper on behalf of all the Ugandan Girls. Presented by Pauline Nakanwagi- 16 years- supported by the she-leads consortium in Uganda.)