As Uganda prepares to join the rest of the world to mark the day of the girl child on Sunday 11th October, Children from High Sound for Children Media Club, have implored parents, government and other partners to be more intentional in protecting girls.
While addressing the media in Kampala, the children noted that the life of a girl child is under serious threat, expressing a need for quick positive response from both parents and local authorities to address the challenges faced by the girl child in Uganda.
Specifically, 13 year old Stacy Acen and 16 year old Noreen Fatima have decried the increasing cases of sexual violence, teenage pregnancies and early forced marriages which worsened in different parts of the country during the covid-19 induced lockdown.
“With 15 million children at home because of the presidential directive after the outbreak of Covid-19, many girls are left vulnerable to teenage pregnancy, early marriage and temptations with gullible and disguised gifts from intending criminals”, said Acen.
They children have also raised a unified voice against engaging children in business activities like vending merchandise, saying it exposes them to more danger.
“With their voices suffocated, in a state of manipulation and confusion, girls are not free from gender-based violence, painful traumatizing experiences but they are exposed to sexually transmitted diseases, most threatening HIV/AIDS, Fatima added.
Their male counterparts too have spoken out, urging fellow boys to fight for the rights of the girl child and condemn all acts of sexual and other forms of abuse meted on them.
16-year old Joshua Muraya told journalists that the boys must not remain silent when their sisters’ rights are being violated.
“The onus is all to protect our sisters and friends both in our homes and communities. We must listen to their concerns and speak out on violence against the girl child in a unified voice.
A report by UN Girl Child Education Initiative shows that more than 700,000 girls in Uganda between the ages of 6- 12 have never attended school, a fact the children said was very unfortunate because educating girls is one way of delaying marriage and child birth.