KAMPALA – A consortium of civil society organization has protested the continued violation of children rights despite existence of laws prohibiting the same.
The chairperson National Youth Council, Jacob Eyeru and a key stakeholder in the consortium speaking at launch of three Dutch funded programs including Power to Youth Uganda, She Leads and We Lead said there have not been deliberate efforts to see that women and girls take part in key decision-making processes, moreover those affecting them.
Eyeru also said that rudimentary cultural practices including Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Gender-based violence and refusing the girl child to access education among others still exist especially in the Sebei and Karamoja sub-regions.
He appealed to local leaders in the Sebei and Karamoja regions where cases of Female Genital Mutilation still happening to take action against the culprits.
Dianah Nanyange, the Programme Coordinator for Power to Youth who named the demographic indicators as high school dropout rates for girls and young women, low and unequal access to gender sensitive service delivery among others said the programme will go to the grass root to address such.
“This is due to the deep patriarchal norms and culture, power relations, misconceptions and views on sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender-based violence and HIV which affect girls and young women. These vulnerabilities are exacerbated by worsening social, political, cultural and economic demographic indicators,” she said.
Nanyange added: “Generally, attitudes towards young women expressing their views are not conducive because they are deemed incapable of contributing to discussions and decisions thus their needs and demands are often ignored by duty bearers within their families and communities and at all levels of government.”
Consortium now want government to invest in adolescent girls and young women in all their diversities development, including strategic investment in health, education and social protection programs while creating an enabling environment for sexuality education and sexual reproductive health. “There is also need for promotion of programs that keep children, particularly girls in school and ensure the schools are safe and equitable places for learning and avenues through which girls’ decision-making potentials can be nurtured.”
A female youth from Karamoja region, Linda, Ngelecha told reporters that she would want government to full responsibility in eradicating harmful social norms such as child marriages, female genital mutilation by enforcing the law.
She also suggested that needs to strengthen child protection systems and promote development programs that strengthen norms and standards that eliminate discrimination based on gender, age, social-economic status and disabilities.
Under Power to Youth arrangement, a 5-year programme, the CSOs are is set to initiate participation of all the stakeholders including cultural leaders, Adolescent Girls and Young Women irrespective of educational background in a wide range of civic education programmes through face to face meetings at their Manyattas, drama, songs to end FGM.
The programme will be implemented by a consortium of three partners including MenEngage Uganda (MEU), Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum (UYAHF), and The Eastern African Sub-regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women (EASSI).