NAMUTUMBA — Parents in Namutumba District have been urged to take an active role in the lives of their children including protecting them against sexual violence and teenage pregnancy during the long school holiday.
Speaking during a campaign on ending Teenage Pregnancies in Namutumba held at Ivukula Primary School in Namutumba District, Mr. Joel Mark Masiko, the district probation officer urged parents to keep an eye on their children in order to prevent early marriages.
Namutumba District is one of the Districts in Eastern Uganda whose girls were also noticed to have a lot of teenage pregnancy cases, early school drop outs and high levels of poverty.
The Probation Officer confirms that up-to 8 out of 10 girls are married off before their 18th birthday.
He says rape and defilement cases are so rampant in the district and tasked male parents to help create an environment that is conducive for the girl children to exploit their full potential.
Masiko says during holidays, parents should do everything possible to protect their children from the abusers who could be relatives, neighbors, or even strangers.
He encouraged children to report any abuse to the police family protection department so that their abusers can be dealt with.
Aisha Kisembo, a health social worker in the district said parents should be close to their children and talk to them to understand the hurdles they face and guide them.
Ms. Kisembo said education is one of the most valuable tools parents can give to their child, but she said some parents have denied their children a right to education by not taking them to school while others have handed them for early marriages.
She pointed out that poverty and unemployment exposes young women and children to rape and defilement which are often covered up in exchange for monetary rewards.
GBV is highest in the Eastern part of the country and this is mainly due to poverty, lack of education and also cultural norms that deem it normal for women to be beaten by their spouses.
ActionAid International Uganda is supporting the campaigns to end gender based violence using Creative arts through focusing on empowering, educating and creating awareness, and giving an opportunity for community to come together, reflect and discuss their experiences and futures in relation to the elimination of child marriage, teenage pregnancies.
From the time the sun sets until midnight – in the space of only six hours – 1 in 3 children you meet in Uganda would have experienced at least physical, sexual or emotional abuse
The Uganda national survey on violence against children shows that every 3 in 4 young adults reported having experienced at least two forms of violence – either sexual or physical – during childhood.
Child marriage and violence against children in school are the most prevalent forms of violence.
Reports show violence against children occurs at all levels of society, in homes, communities and schools.
Failing to address violence against children jeopardises investments made in child survival, health and education.