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Kasese Still Grappling With Child Marriages :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Kasese Still Grappling With Child Marriages

Sowed, Kitanywa, the Kasese District Senior Probation and Social Welfare Officer, says the district is grappling with high school dropout rates. He says most girls are persuaded to drop out of school by men into marriage.

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Marriage remains one of the celebrated moments and a key millstone among families across Rwenzi region. Sadly, there is no more cause of celebration today because of the high cases of child marriages in the region.

Rwenzi region, which comprises of Kasese and Bundibugyo districts, have the highest cases of child and forced marriage in Uganda. In 2014, Kasese hit the headlines when a 12-year-old girl was “officially” married off.  Currently, several villages in Kasese are dotted with child mothers. 

Sowed, Kitanywa, the Kasese District Senior Probation and Social Welfare Officer, says the district is grappling with high school dropout rates. He says most girls are persuaded to drop out of school by men into marriage.  

Recent statistics in Kasese indicate that for every 94% girl children who attend primary one, only 32% manage to reach primary seven. Three-quarters of the children who start primary education never make it to secondary level.      

Kitanywa blames this trend on violence against children in school, parental neglect and lack of cooperation among the community to have guided this trend.   

 

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Lucky Kabanyoro, the Gender and Women Affairs Minister in the Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu Kingdom, says they recognize the challenges the girl child goes through including forced and early marriages. Obusinga is revamping efforts to end all negative cultural practices that threaten the full realization of the girl child potential.       

Ruth Tusasirwe Muguta, the Principle Social Development Officer-Family Affairs in the Gender Labour and Social Development Ministry, says local leaders across the country have not taken responsibility to stop child marriages. She also blames parents for neglecting their responsibility of taking care of their children, something that has forced many girls into marriage.        

She says the Gender Ministry has embarked on a drive through cultural institutions to stop early and forced marriages. This campaign is set to run in seven districts including Kasese under Obusinga Bwa Rwenzuru Kyegegwa under Tooro Kingdom, Kampala under Buganda Kingdom, Tororo under Tienge Adhola cultural institution, Kitgum under the Acholi cultural institution Amudat under Karamoja Elders Association and Arua under the Lugbara Kari.

Tusasirwe also notes that the Gender Ministry has put in place national parenting guidelines to remind parents of their roles in child upbringing.  

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While in Bukonjo West in Kasese district last year, the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga condemned child marriages and urged district leaders to establish ordinances.

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