Parents have been blamed for their role in raising their children by providing them with parental guidance and instead focusing on providing needs.
According to Rachel Musasizi, from Economic Social Empowerment for Local communities (Esla Uganda), the girl child has especially suffered from this lack of parental concern. She many girls grow up with no one to confide in yet they are at a vulnerable time in their lives.
ESLA held a function at Buluuya village in Kamuli district with an aim of empowering girls, creating awareness of their rights, equipping them with knowledge on how to protect themselves from sexual abuse , avoid early pregnancies and dropping out of school.
The programme was prompted by the fact that Uganda continues to register a rise in early pregnancies and school dropouts among girls. Many of these girls are then forced into early marriages.
It’s these alarming figures that pushed Esla Uganda to introduce Girl Parliament in schools before Covid19 to give girls a platform to air out their challenges and receive advise on how to overcome them.
Elsa Uganda says it hopes that the girls who have participated in Girls Parliament will become ambassadors in their communities sharing the empowering message.
There are already signs Girl Parliament will pay off. Glora Maureen Nangoobi, a senior three student at Wanyange Girls from Buluuya village, was inspired to help organize the ESLA function in her community.
Nangoobi says that she was concerned that in the lockdown with schools closed, her peers were wasting the time in unconstructive activities. She also noticed many of them drifting into love affairs because of idleness.
She started training a few friends on how to make bangles, baskets, mats and car dashboard covers to provide a small but consistent income. This inspired more girls and youth to request to join the programme.
Addressing her fellow girls on the international day of the girl child in Kamuli ,Nangoobi revealed that she plans to reach as many girls in her community as possible to share the earned knowledge.
Shamim Nassozi, a senior councilor, advised parents to instill the saving culture in their children and seek their opinion when making decisions that affect the children.
Esla Uganda looks to empower young girls, single mothers and youth to have a better future.