KAMPALA —The Equality Mission Uganda (EMU), a youth-led NGO will Thursday October 06 hold an online engagement on the correlation between rising poverty levels and child marriage rate in the country.
The discussion seeks to influence both state and no state actors in the effective implementation of the laws and policies in Uganda by 2025.
The session, in which Equality Mission Uganda Executive Director Asimiire Ritah Biirabo will give a keynote address will be relayed via zoom between 10:00am – 11:30PM, link attached here.
The other speakers will include Ms. Hope Mwijuka Nakunda, the Executive Director Raising Teenagers Uganda, Central Regional Coordinator Girls Not Brides, Mr. William Binoh Mabala, the co-founder Fact Funders’ Initiative for Transformation and Ms. Esther Birungi, Lawyer and Founder Birungi Charities.
Child marriage is a human rights violation that robs girls of their rights to health, to live in security, and to choose if, when and whom to marry. It is a harmful practice, which severely affects the rights of a child and further deprives the child from attaining other aspirations like education.
Every year, about 8 million adolescents and teen girls are married, almost always forced into the arrangement by their parents, according to figures.
Although the proportion of child brides has generally decreased over the last 30 years, in some regions child marriage remains common, even among the youngest generations, particularly in rural areas and among the poorest.
Quoting figures from UBOS and UNICEF, Equity Mission Uganda says the practice is on a rising trajectory in Karamoja, Busoga, Acholi, Bunyoro and Tooro sub regions.
Despite most Uganda setting the legal age for marriage at 18 years, laws are rarely enforced since the practice of marrying young children is upheld by tradition and social norms.
Child marriage is deeply rooted in gender inequality, poverty, tradition and culture,” researchers say, adding that the practice is most common in rural areas, where prospects for girls can be limited.
In many cases, parents arrange these marriages and young girls have no choice. Consequently, some societies believe that early marriage will protect young girls from sexual attacks and violence and see it as a way to insure that, their daughters will not become pregnant out of wedlock and bring dishonour to the family. In effect, the paradox is that parents and society are often wrong
Ms. Biirabo says the Thursday online engagement will further bolster their advocacy and lobbying actions implemented with key partners.