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REBECCA NAIKOBA, PROJECTS MANAGER

Leads the development and implementation of  Projects Development and Learning & Development Strategies, Plans and Policies managing implementation against agreed corporate time frames, budget and reporting against agreed performance measures.
Leads the SCOEN and Learning function, managing the implementation of plans and strategies by maximising the resource of the whole team and contracting with external partners as required to deliver on agreed plans.

Effectiveness of “Girls Parliament” in ending child marriage

What is the effectiveness of “Girls Parliament” in ending child marriage?

By engaging girls with community and religious leaders including boys and girls, men and women, policy makers and influencers the power of Girls Parliament as a community awareness intervention in ending child marriage will be realised. SCOEN will identify impact pathways included creating opportunities for reflection and helping people shift both attitudes and practices, face-to-face communication with target groups and generating the ability to address issues of concern directly and to re-frame local thinking.

SCOEN will use communications-focused interventions

  • Community and religious elders be prioritised for child marriage and gender equality messages as they are often the ultimate gatekeepers of social norms.
  • Boys and men be targeted aimed at encouraging new masculinities that support their sisters and daughters to reach adulthood before they become wives.
  • Face-to-face discussion encourages local ownership and combined with top-down or media approaches for best effect.
  • Peer-to-peer education, girls’ clubs bring transformatory change to girls, helping them build confidence and voice while learning about their rights, serving as critical venues for reporting planned marriages.

Whats Girls’ Parliament and how will it be run?

A Girl’s Parliament consists of a sequence of sessions, each leading to the intended outcome. Child Marriage may not be discussed in the initial sessions to avoid community backlash. Related motivational activities will be used to introduce the topic. The initial sessions will be informed by the local context of the community.

The main objective of Girls’ parliament is to create a platform that promotes critical reflection that allows for questioning of beliefs, myths and practices in order to realize a change in social norms to accelerate the abandonment of Child Marriage.

This will: –

  • create a deeper understanding of communities, their situation, current practices, interests, existing opportunities and challenges and helps devise mitigating strategies for sustainable behavior change
  • enhance accountability and stimulates action and a sense of ownership of agreed interventions by the community
  • enable identification of key persons in the community in order to build networks and partnerships to ensure sustainability
  • enhance the capacity of the facilitators to develop effective and adaptable skills in inclusive decision-making for attitude and behavior change

The following steps are essential in organizing and conducting the girl’s parliament:

Training of community facilitators; stakeholders’ mapping and engagement; participant identification; develop leading questions; venue selection; and timing of the dialogue; Participant mobilization – a maximum of 45 participants is advisable for one facilitator.

It’s also important to understand how to conduct such effective sessions to bring about the desired change. Like to: – introduce the purpose of the dialogue; language of the dialogue, rules of engagement; community resolve and action plan; evaluating the dialogue and concluding the dialogue

FACILITATION:

Facilitation plays a significant role as it ensures that the objectives are met. It is thus imperative to have a qualified individual who will understand the qualities, roles and responsibilities of facilitation to effectively moderate theconversation. This person will be sourced to facilitate, conversant with Child Marriage issues and may be able to handle different scenarios. she may be confronted with different scenarios during the dialogue process that may hinder successful engagement and conclusion of the process

 

Educating Girls: A Way of Ending Child Marriage and Teenage Pregnancy

KAMPALA, 5 December – Annet Nyaburu is only 18 years old, but she is a mother of two boys, aged 4 and 3. At 13, she fell pregnant and dropped out of school after her mother, a widow, decided she was better off married to the father of her child to secure her future.

Towards the end of last year, she left her sons in the care of her mother, bought a one-way bus ticket from the eastern city of Mbale, and found work as a housemaid in Namugongo, a residential suburb of Kampala, the capital of Uganda.

“Life got unbearable,” she says of her marriage now, a note of determination in her voice, “as there was not much to eat, and the man would come home drunk and sometimes beat me up. I don’t regret leaving him because I am now earning some money, which I send home to my mother to look after the children.”

Defined as formal or informal unions made before the age of 18, or having a first child before the age of 18, child marriage and early childbearing remain common in Uganda despite legislation against them. As many as three in ten Ugandan girls have their first child before their 18th birthday; more than a third marry before the age of 18. In turn, both child marriage and early childbearing lead girls to drop out of school prematurely.

The World Bank’s 10th edition of the Uganda Economic Update estimates the negative impact of child marriage, early childbearing, and the low educational attainment of the many girls affected by the two, on a wide range of development indicators.

Estimates of the cost of child marriage to the economy are also made. The cost of not taking action now is high, and will run into billions of dollars a year by 2030.

It reviews the literature on the types of intervention that can work to empower adolescent girls, and specifically calls for greater investment in girls’ education; for providing opportunities to girls who are out of school and cannot go back; and for equipping adolescent girls with life skills and knowledge of reproductive health.

Closely connected

Our report shows that close relationships exist between child marriage, teen pregnancy, and the low level of education reached by large numbers of girls. It shows that child marriage is likely to be the cause of more than half of babies born to under 18s in Uganda, so that ending it could reduce early childbearing by the same amount.

It also shows that both child marriage and early childbearing force girls to drop out of school. According to parents and principals interviewed in surveys, early pregnancy and marriage are major reasons for this.

The report’s analysis suggests that, depending how early a girl marries, child marriage reduces the likelihood of completing secondary school by 12 to 23 percentage points. Once a girl is married, it is very difficult for her to stay at school, whatever her age. In contrast, keeping girls in secondary school substantially reduces the likelihood they will marry or have children early.

Impact of child marriage

Uganda’s fertility rate stands at 5.9 children per woman, above the Sub-Saharan average of 4.8. This high fertility rate is attributed in part to the low use of contraceptives, but high rates of child marriage and early childbearing also play an important role. Ending child marriage would reduce fertility by 8 percent nationally, and could lower the country’s overall population growth rate of 3 percent by 0.17 percent. If child marriage were ended today, it is estimated that the benefit—in terms of the higher standards of living that would be generated thanks to lower population growth—would reach US$2.4 billion a year by 2030.

There are other risks associated with early marriage: Girls who marry before 18 are at a higher risk of dying in childbirth. When a child is born of a mother younger than 18, research shows there is a higher risk of him or her suffering from either stunting (physical and mental underdevelopment through undernutrition) or mortality under the age of 5. The economic benefits that resulting from a reduction of these could reach US$275 million per year by 2030.

Under Ugandan law, child marriage is a crime. Global research, suggesting that girls who marry early are more likely to experience physical, psychological, and sexual abuse and violence from their partners than those who marry as adults, applies also to Uganda. “Ending child marriage, preventing early childbearing, and improving educational opportunities for girls is not only the right thing to do from a moral and ethical standpoint, it is also a smart investment for Uganda’s development,” said Quentin Wodon, co-author of the Update.

Increasing women’s earnings and family welfare

Uganda has one of the youngest populations in Africa: According to the 2014 census, 55 percent of its population (now estimated at about 42 million) is below 18 years old. The report’s economic argument is that women who are girls now, and who wait to marry and have children, are more likely to complete their education and earn more later in life. And that this will help them to take better care of themselves and their children in the future.

Ending child marriage could also increase their participation in the labor force. Instead of marrying early, earnings in adulthood early could increase by 14 percent, leading to an overall increase of one percent in earnings in the population.

Today, such gains are estimated at US$514 million per year. The benefits of more girls completing primary education would be even larger, as would the benefits of secondary education. Ending child marriage and improving the education of girls could dramatically improve the standard of living and reduce poverty.

Implications for Policy

The overall boost to Uganda’s economy that ending child marriage, preventing early childbearing, and investing in girls’ education could provide is substantial—given the recent slowdown of the economy. At 4.5 percent a year, the average rate of growth for the past five years is far smaller than the 7.0 percent or more achieved in the 1990s and early 2000s.

“In 2016/17, the rate of real GDP growth barely reached 4.0 percent, and driven by consumption, rather than investment. This is not sufficient to achieve sustained progress towards poverty reduction,” said Rachel Kaggwa Sebudde, co-author of the Update.

Uganda has adopted many progressive policies and regulations to safeguard the rights of girls, but many are not enforced. Increased investment in adolescent girls could have a majorly positive impact on Uganda and accelerate its development. And initiatives that are already successful could be scaled up quickly to make a big difference.

The special topic section of the 10th Uganda Economic Update benefited from support from the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and the Global Partnership for Education. The report is one of several country studies prepared by the World Bank following up on a global study on the economic impacts of child marriage conducted in partnership with the International Center for Research on Women with additional funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

End the silence on child marriage

This year’s Day of African Child commemoration theme: ‘Leave no child behind for Africa’s Development’ contributes to Agenda 2030 that emphasises that children should be at the centre-stage in the drive towards sustainable economic development.

In Uganda, we are living in a situation where more than half (53 per cent) of women aged between 20 and 49 marry before the age of 18. Sadly, many girls, and to a smaller extent boys, enter marriage without any chance of exercising their right to choose.

Within a rights perspective, key concerns are the denial of childhood and adolescence, the curtailment of personal freedom and the lack of opportunity to develop a full sense of selfhood as well as the denial of psychosocial and emotional well-being, reproductive health and educational opportunity.

Generally, where girls are uneducated and ill-prepared for their roles as mothers and contributors to society, there are costs to be borne at every level – from the individual household – to the nation as a whole.

The accepted and respected marriage had respect for the girl-child where a woman could not be married unless she was at least 24 years and this involved negotiations and consent.

The new disorder introduced new violent approach of abduction of girls and women without their consent or the parents. Any child marriage constitutes a forced marriage in recognition that even if a child appears to give their consent, any one below the age of 18 is not able to make a fully informed choice whether or not to marry.

Forced marriage in these many conservative communities has resulted in young girls being pushed into a huge responsibility of becoming wives and mothers. And because girls are not adequately prepared for these heavy burdens, it has often resulted into serious impact on their psychological welfare, their perceptions of themselves and their relationships.

Early marriage plans are also discouraging parents of girls from educating their daughter with perceived believe that a formal education will only benefit her future family in-law and yet a lack of education also means that young brides lack knowledge about sexual relations, their bodies and reproduction, exacerbated by the cultural silence surrounding these subjects.

This denies the girl the ability to make informed decisions about sexual relations, planning a family, and her health, yet another example of their lives in which they have no control.
Notwithstanding the laws in place, a range of policy and programmatic actions should be orchestrated to reduce child marriage and its impact.

Every stakeholder must be concerned that no Child is left behind by ensuring that critical, broadly adapted and cost effective programmes are effective, but also feasible to implement at sufficient scale to make them meaningful and sustainable.

Johnson Okwera
okwerajohnson@yahoo.com

International Women’s Day 2019: Think equal, build smart, innovate for change

The theme for International Women’s Day 2019, which will take place on 8 March, is “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change”.

The theme will focus on innovative ways in which we can advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure.

The achievement of the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires transformative shifts, integrated approaches and new solutions, particularly when it comes to advancing gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. Based on current trajectories, existing interventions will not suffice to achieve a Planet 50-50 by 2030. Innovative approaches that disrupt “business as usual” are central to removing structural barriers and ensuring that no woman and no girl is left behind. Innovation and technology provide unprecedented opportunities, yet trends indicate a growing gender digital divide and women are under-represented in the field of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and design. It prevents them from developing and influencing gender-responsive innovations to achieve transformative gains for society. From mobile banking to artificial intelligence and the internet of things, it is vital that women’s ideas and experiences equally influence the design and implementation of the innovations that shape our future societies.

Echoing the CSW63 Priority theme, IWD 2019 will look to industry leaders, game-changing start-ups, social entrepreneurs, gender equality activists, and women innovators to examine the ways in which innovation can remove barriers and accelerate progress for gender equality, encourage investment in gender-responsive social systems, and build services and infrastructure that meet the needs of women and girls. On 8 March 2019, join us as we celebrate a future in which innovation and technology creates unprecedented opportunities for women and girls to play an active role in building more inclusive systems, efficient services and sustainable infrastructure to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs and gender equality.

RSVP for the International Women’s Day Commemoration in New York

NBS TV Investigates exposes modern day slavery in Uganda

Have you ever stopped to wonder what 50,000 Uganda Shillings can do for you today? With 50, 000 shillings, I can pay for my monthly Netflix subscription, with 50, 000 shillings, I can happily buy 7 beers at Valhalla’s reggae night, with the same amount still, I can afford a good steak from a fancy restaurant around Kampala. But there is more.

In Soroti district, the life of a girl is worth 50,000 shillings. For seven beers, you can buy a human being in Uganda today. Let that sink in!

In yet another groundbreaking investigative story, this is what NBS TV’s journalists have uncovered. The story under the NBS Investigates feature went deep cover to expose modern day slavery in our country. The months long investigation, now showcased on Next Media Uganda YouTube channel and already aired is present for all to see and attest for themselves.

NBS TV journalists risked their lives, led by Canary Mugume, to go undercover to untangle the web that begins from Soroti and finds its way onto Kampala road and other parts of the country. The hope of this investigative piece being that the authorities and Ugandans who care about their country take note.

One can only hope that this investigative piece on modern day slavery in Uganda will encourage a crackdown on this evil in our country. We hope that lives will be saved and changed for the better and everyone will take up the mantle to break up this vicious trade that ruins lives.

Meanwhile NBS TV is not done. We have lined up yet another social good investigative piece coming up, one helmed by Solomon Sserwanjja. The piece is about the illegal sale of government drugs. I cannot wait to share it with you very soon! Source NBS TV

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