Girl summit drums up support for fighting FGM and child marriages in Uganda

The fight to alleviate female Genital Mutilation and child marriages received a boost on 22nd January, 2015 when UNFPA in Uganda together with DFID jointly organized a post girl summit at YES centre in Nsambya. The summit came as a follow up onto the first girl summit held in London in July last year which aimed at mobilizing domestic and international efforts to end female genital mutilation (FGM) and child, early and forced marriages.

In Uganda, the rate of child marriage, 40%, is higher than the African average of 39%. A number of factors contribute to this high rate, including poverty, gender norms and expectations, culture and tradition. It is reported that many poor parents see their daughters as a means for getting dowry and a source of income once married off.

The Kampala summit thus sought to consolidate some of the achievement and commitments made while in London by world leaders as well as draw participant’s views on issues that affect the girl child and enlist views of young people on the prevailing realities surrounding the girl child in our society. The dialogue was grounded on the leading causes of child marriages and issues such as culture, poverty and domestic violence, harmful practices such as FGM and parental negligence were highlighted as conduits for child marriages and teen pregnancies. Pics https://www.flickr.com/photos/unfpauganda/sets/72157650110411598

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Photp Credit UNFPA

As a typical dialogue, there were heartbreaking back and forth discussions as girls from mostly affected communities including Karamoja region, Sebei, and central regions shared shocking revelations of what they experience in their daily lives.  Girls from Karamoja region revealed how their peers are forced into marriages as young as 12 years. It was shocking to learn that many girls who find themselves in early marriages also see marriage as the only option for survival after they have dropped out of schools. It is further mentioned by many Girls who testified that they hardly have any opportunities of getting assertive because in the rural areas they are only prepared for marriage and looking after their men as well as producing children. Heated views on sexuality, preferential treatment of girls, dowry, defilement, violence and heavy domestic responsibilities offered to the girls by their parents arose from the audience and panelists.

Many girls also confessed to be be treated as inferior compared to the boys and that in some societies like in Sebei many have been forced into marriages with elderly men as some parents give them away for marriage. Worse still that is in Sebei region female Genital mutilation is highly practiced which put many girls lives at risk especially during child birth. It was also further echoed at the event that men also largely use materials to appease the girl’s parents and due to poverty, most parents willingly send their daughters even without her consent. The denial of educating of the girl child is another common practice in Uganda communities due to arrogance and selfishness of some parents,who do not see the value of educating a girl child. It is rather unfortunate that parents believe that girls are a waste of resources as they prepare them for marriage roles.

Speaking at the same event, the Resident Director General for country programmes of the UK’s DFID Ms Joy Hutchison noted that FGM and child, early or forced marriages are two harmful practices which stand in the way of girls’ potentials affecting millions of girls every year. One in three girls in developing countries including Uganda is married by the age of 18. “Girls who marry young are at a higher risk of death during child birth. They are also likely to have fewer economic opportunities and are vulnerable to poverty due to time and financial expenses on child care”. Said Hutchison. She further castigated gender related stereo-typing and violence towards girls and challenged the young people to fight it. She also explained why girls need to get involved in the decision making spaces on issues that affect them.

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UNEMPLOYMENT CONTRIBUTING TO YOUTH MENTAL ILLNESS!

On Tuesday12th August 2014, Uganda will join the rest of the world to commemorate the International Youth day. This day meant to bring to the attention youth issues, is used to celebrate the potential of youth as partners in development. This year’s celebrations will carry the theme “Youth and Mental Health” under the slogan ‘Mental Health Matters’. The World Health Organization defines mental health as a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.

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Photo Credit BUTABIKKA HOSPITAL-20131217-084826

The International Youth Day comes at a time when there are numerous media reports of increasing cases of mental illnesses in youth mainly attributed to the growing abuse of drugs. Health reports indicate that close to 20 percent (6.8 million) out of an estimated 34m Ugandans have some degrees of mental illness ranging from anxiety at 20-62%, depression at 12-68% to severe disorders (Mental Health Policy, 2007). Sadly, half of those affected do not seek medical treatment from medical facilities for fear of discrimination and isolation from their communities. Butabika the only National referral hospital for mental cases records at least 28 cases every month, majority being youth (World Health Organization, 2012). The National youth policy also puts the number of youth inmates at 63% with unemployment; poverty and redundancy as the main causes of this custody. Continue reading

Call for Technologies Inspiring Agricultural Change; Young Scientist Innovation Award

Young Scientist Innovation Award Download forms here: Sharefair_ Call for Technologies_7July_ FINAL Sharefair Young scientist innovation call_7July_FINAL_ blackwhite Sharefair Young scientist innovation call_7 July_FINAL_colour Entry form for technologies 7 July_FINAL10299968_669860493049727_6088699586053249635_n

!Young Scientist Innovation Award!

INDIVIDUALS AND GROUPS OF STUDENTS ARE INVITED TO SUBMIT THEIR IDEAS, INNOVATIONS AND TECHNOLOGIES FOR CONSIDERATION

SUBMISSIONS ARE WELCOME UNDER THE FOLLOWING TWO CATEGORIES:

  1. Innovations and technologies benefiting women smallholder farmers
  2. Innovations and technologies benefiting People With Disabilities (PWDs) who are engaging in smallholder farming

 Consideration will be given to submissions which are relevant to the award categories and:

  • Enhance food security
  • Improve nutritional value
  • Increase productivity and yield
  • Add value and increase income potential
  • Reduce labour and time intensity
  • Respond to climate-related challenges
  • Use locally available inputs
  • Are affordable and socially sustainable
  • Reduce postharvest loss

Eligible Countries: Burundi, Djibouti, D.R. of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

HOW TO APPLY: Continue reading

UNFPA Executive Director (Dr. Babatunde) Interacts With Young People In Uganda

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Social Media Messages from Family Planning Conference 2014

Sample Tweets and Facebook Posts

We want the unmet need for family planning in Uganda to drop to zero @SarahOpendi #FPConferenceUG #ASKSRH4YP

@BabatundeUNFPA No culture I know can condone the death of its young people through lack of access to SRH services #FPConferenceUG #askSRH4YP

@SarahOpendi: Our interest as government of Uganda is to ensure that we don’t see children born by chance but by choice #FPConferenceUG

As young people your health is in your hands, your future lies in the decisions you make today #FPConferenceUG @SarahOpendi @BabatundeUNFPA

@BabatundeUNFPA: I want to challenge each young person to reach out to 5 other young people and advocate for access to SRH services10325707_879260812103507_3146177035835500382_n

The present youth generation is the most connected; use these connections to drive SRH information and services #askSRH4YP #FPConferenceUG

@BabatundeUNFPA: “I would like to see young people more aggressive in accessing SRH info & services” #askSRH4YP #FPConferenceUG

@JothamMusinguzi: Leaders must be held accountable on the global stage to commitments they make to young people through @UNFPA and @BabatundeUNFPA

@SarahOpendi: Youth friendly SRH info & services needs to be scaled up in Uganda #askSRH4YP #FPConferenceUG

Young people need to be included in formulation, implementation and monitoring of policies that affect them #askSRH4YP

Family planning is key to the health of mothers, their children and the entire family #FPConferenceUG @SarahOpendi @UNFPAUganda

Family Planning should be positioned at the heart of national development because of its benefits #FPConferenceUG @SarahOpendi @UNFPAUganda Continue reading

Draft Communiqué Women in Politics Conference – July 22-23, 2014

We, the participants gathered in Kampala, Uganda on the occasion of the National Women in Politics Conference held on the 22-23rd July 2014, organized by the Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE);

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Having come together in the spirit of sisterhood and guided by our common agenda of promoting women in politics and leadership as a fundamental non- negotiable right;
Affirming that democracy without women’s equal participation is flawed and observing that multiple challenges continue to limit women’s equal participation in leadership including institutional bias; stereotyping; historical imbalances, poor political party internal democracy; weak electoral laws; gender based violence targeting women; high poverty levels; lack of sufficient resources to run successful political campaigns;

Recognising that politics and political campaigns in Uganda continue to be highly monetized, leading to high levels of corruption and unethical practices, and additionally serving as a barrier to women’s participation;10557704_508048622658534_8434097677516446441_o

Appreciating the trends set by the AU on Gender Parity a standard to which Uganda should aspire and acknowledging the commendable steps measures and actions at national and local level by the Government of Uganda; Civil Society Organizations; Development Partners; Political Parties and Citizens to promote women in politics and leadership; Continue reading

Call for Applications: The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme 2014

Are you making a difference in your community?

10507854_617786311652618_1927160824_nApply for the Queen’s Young Leaders Pogramme. Over the next five years,this life changing Programme has been established by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust and runs in partnership with Comic Relief and the Royal Commonwealth Society in honour of The Queen’s 60-year contribution to the Commonwealth.

The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme will support thousands of young people (18-29) to make their visions of a better society a reality. Comprising two parts, it will create a lasting legacy for the Queen through:

  • An Awards scheme to recognise the achievements of 240 inspirational young people and provide support enabling them to take up leadership roles and inspire future leaders
  • Grants to support organisations in selected countries across the Commonwealth that work with young people to transform their lives

Young people from all across the Commonwealth can apply or be nominated to win an award and become a Queen’s Young Leader.

 

Eligibility

Young people who have already achieved something extraordinary for themselves and others are also taking part in the event

Each application/nomination must meet the following criteria:

  1. Applicants/nominees need to have proven experience of working to improve their communities locally, regionally or at a national level and be able to show evidence of their achievements.
  2. Applicants/nominees must be aged between 18 and 29 for the year of the award and be citizens of a Commonwealth country.
  3. Applicants/nominees need to demonstrate evidence of their leadership qualities.
  4. Priority will be given to individuals who have overcome challenges to achieve their goals.
  5. All applicants/nominees need to be supported by a suitable referee. All applications/nominations will be considered based on the young person’s achievements to date as well as their potential and their future ambition

Award details

Each year from 2014 to 2018, 60 inspirational young people will be selected to receive a Queen’s Young Leaders Award and become ‘Queen’s Young Leaders’ – one for every year that The Queen had served as Head of the Commonwealth at the time of her Diamond Jubilee. At least one young person from every Commonwealth country will receive a Queen’s Young Leaders Award.

Visit Queen Young Leaders for more information. #TheSearchIsOn http://www.queensyoungleaders.com/

REGIONAL CONFERENCE FOR WOMEN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATORS HELD IN MBALE

10519448_698425140193262_5543020869835006036_oOn Tuesday 8th July, 2014 business at Mbale resort Hotel almost came to a hold as ACFODE a Women’s Rights organization, organized the Regional conference for women’s administrators. Held under the theme: “Women Breaking through and soaring the heights”, the convention attracted a total of over 200 women leaders in public administration positions including directors, heads of departments, head teachers, Women Members of Parliament and Gender focal persons from key line ministries and district leaders among others who all converged at Mbale Resort Hotel to discuss pertinent issues that impede women’s meaningful participation in public administration spaces. The conference also aimed at offering a dais to build synergies among women leaders and get inspired to play an active and visible role in advocacy, community transformation and programme implementation within their localities.

10517659_698040836898359_3859933999684768408_oAt the conference women public administrators from the Eastern Uganda districts of Dokoro, Pader, Namutumba and Mbale among other neighboring districts shared experiences they go through in their execution of work in a predominantly male sector. Women leaders noted the luck of leadership, legislative and advocacy skills as some of the inadequacies they have which impede their active involvement and meaningful contribution in public administration spaces. Some confessed to have been marginalized in all community driven development processes, oppressed and discriminated against compared to their male counterparts whilst Sexual exploitation of women during recruitment is glaring in most of the communities, one participant noted. Continue reading