The program also involves providing avenues to empower girls through a network of peer mentors. Harriet Mudondo, the Director Gender, Community and Production says they have trained over 300 mentors to deal with the girls.
Over 1,500 girls across the five divisions of Kampala are set to benefit from a Social
protection program, Girls-Empowering-Girls.
The four year UNICEF funded
project is intended to help adolescent girls in vulnerable communities like
slums. Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA is the main implementing body working with private organizations like GiveDirectly, Uganda Youth Development Link-UYDEL and Trailblazers Mentoring Foundation.
Target communities are slums where children are at
high risk of school dropout.
According to the UN-Habitat 2014, 54% of Kampala residents
live in slums with inadequate housing and lack of access to basic services like
education and employment.
The most affected are girls who end up dropping out
of school due to unwanted pregnancies and lack of basic necessities.
Half of the beneficiaries in this program are girls in upper primary
attending Universal Primary Education schools. The other half consists of adolescent
school-drop outs who are vulnerable and living in the corresponding school catchment
areas. The girls have been identified through local leaders in the different
divisions and school heads.
The programs is intended to ensure that these
girls transition safely into adulthood, receive education and training and are
empowered to achieve their goals.
According to KCCA Ag Executive
director Andrew Kitaka, the program will involve offering small cash transfers to the children to enable them get basic necessities. The money will be given
to the parents or guardians. GiveDirectly, a non-government Organisations also working with KCCA on the project is responsible for making the transfers.
Each child will be given 40.000 shillings per month.
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The program also includes a referral component where girls in need of different services like health will be helped to acquire health services from hospitals or get help from different other organisations with a free or cheap services.
The program also involves
providing avenues to empower girls through a network of peer mentors. Harriet
Mudondo, the Director Gender, Community and Production says they have trained
over 300 mentors to deal with the girls.
KCCA is working on the mentor-ship program with Trailblazers Mentoring Foundation an NGO that deals in mentor-ship of girls. Each mentor shall be allocated five girls to mentor.
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Carol Nakwanwagi a social worker with Uganda
Youth Development Link-UYDEL says that a number of girls in Kampala fall victim
of unwanted pregnancy, prostitution, child trafficking and unwanted labor in a
bid to survive.
She says at UYDEL, at least 20 girls seek help at their center
weekly. She says the KCCA program is a good initiative that will help so many
vulnerable girls to acquire skills and also empower them to take charge of their lives.
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Joanna 18, is one of the girls who could benefit from the program. She dropped out of school in senior three when her mother, their bread winner got bed ridden. At 16 years, she started working as a maid for 3000 shilling per day. Three months later, she quit to work at a bar where she earned 5000 shillings before she was turned into a sex worker there. At 16, Joanna turned into a sex worker.
Joanna says she did not like what she was doing and felt guilty about it. She was later rescued by a stanger who got her a job at a hardware shop where she currently works.
She still earns a small wage of 5,000 shillings daily but pleased she no longer engages in prostitution.
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Dr. Doreen Mulenga, the UNICEF Country representative says that
the program will foster adolescent girls’ social and economic inclusion, and
protection while ensuring a safe, educated and empowered transition to later adolescent.
This is the second social protection program implemented by government through which a specific group is given money to sustain their needs. The first social program is the one of the elderly people where each is given 20,000 shillings per month.