Stella Kijange, of Nwoya District, an advocate and women rights activist says that more teenage girls are still at risk of getting pregnant during the lock down due to their extreme vulnerability to the secondary, social and economic impact of the pandemic.
Parents in Acholi have expressed fear over the likelihood of
increased teenage pregnancies and child marriage in the region again following
the second pandemic lockdown in the country.
On June 6, President Yoweri Museveni issued partial lockdown
measures to close public transport, places of worship and education
institutions for 42 days to control the spread of the deadly second wave of COVID-19.
On Friday, the President reviewed his earlier directives and
issued other measures declaring total lockdown for 42 days. Now parents in
Acholi argue that the lockdown period could lead to an increase in teenage
pregnancies among learners.
Geoffrey Oguti, another parent argues that many parents have
abdicated their cardinal responsibilities and distanced themselves from their children
resulting in too much freedom that the learners exploit to their advantage.
Robert Larubi, a teacher and parent in the West Division of Gulu
City says that the problem of child marriage and teen pregnancy cases will continue
to bother the country because of the inadequate sex education the learners in
Larubi also noted that even parents in modern-day society are
shying away from discussing sex education with their children because they
consider it a taboo under the cultural context leaving boys and girls.
//Cue in..."The responsibility….
Cue out… they are watching.”//
Stella Kijange, of Nwoya District, an advocate and women rights
activist says that more teenage girls are still at risk of getting pregnant
during the lockdown due to their extreme vulnerability to the secondary, social
and economic impact of the pandemic.
//Cue in..."To the teenage….”
Cue out… of the family.”//
Kijange further points out that while the police backed by other security
agencies deploy to enforce the curfew and SOPs, the Family and Child Protection
Unit, Family and Child Courts have been rendered dysfunctional thus delaying
access to justice.
During the first pandemic lockdown last year, the Acholi sub-region
recorded over 17,652 teen pregnancies including child marriages. A significant
number of the victims did not resume studies after the reopening of schools.
Local authorities say many households in the Acholi sub-region are being pushed
to extreme poverty as parents are unable to feed their families and children
are surviving on one meal a day, increase the chances of teenage girls being
sexually exploited for money and other material gains.
Police annual crime report released in April indicates up to
14,134 cases of defilement were reported. Of those 5,058 were still under
inquiry 3,331 were yet undetected 5,745 were taken to court while 8,494 were
investigated and referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions – DPP.