MPs oppose guidelines to allow pregnant girls in school

By Alice Lubwama

A section of lawmakers have opposed the guidelines being drafted by the ministry of Education to retain pregnant girls in schools saying this will encourage more to get pregnant.

This was during a consultation meeting between MPS under Uganda parliamentary association and officials from the Ministry of education on the guidelines.

The commissioner basic education in the ministry of education Mugenyi Cleophus says the number of teenage pregnancies have escalated during this time of Covid19 pandemic when school girls are Idle at home.

But legislators such as James Waira Magyegere Bunya east and Noeline Kisembo Kibaale woman MP say that the girls should be only allowed to continue with their studies after giving birth ,because keeping them pregnant in schools with others will be sending a bad signal.

Among the proposals in the guidelines all teachers shall protect the pregnant girls and adolescent mothers from stigma and discrimination.

The schools will also be required to form health committees with counselors who will be in charge of counseling the pregnant girls who will be allowed in schools till six months.

The parents shall be required to report the schools that fails to admit their daughter to the district education officer.

Justice Batema asks parliament to pass the sexual offenses bill

By Alice Lubwama

High court judge David Batema has asked parliament to enact the sexual offenses bill in order to criminalize minor acts like sexual harassment.

While launching a report on girls and young women experience of sexual harassment by plan international Uganda in Kampala today, Justice Batema said that once sexual offences are criminalized the courts will give punishment which will deter others from such harassment.

The report shows that women and girls don’t report cases of sexual harassment to the authorities because they are not believed and fear to be judged.
The report also indicates that 84% of cases on sexual harassment reported to the authorities such as police do not get adequate responses.

Speaking at the same function the country director plan international Uganda Grey Lavender said that the research was done across a number of cities in the world with the aim of creating safer cities for girls and women.
He said that the safety of women and girls in Kampala city is still wanting with reports of young women and girls being kidnapped and abducted.

He now calls government to invest in providing gender sensitive education and training to police around issues of street harassment and how to respond to sexual harassment cases an initiative his organization will support.
Lavender also called for more investment in street lighting and security cameras to support the girls and women get evidence of sexual harassment on the streets.

NGOs partner to help girls stay in school

By Deo Wasswa
Non Governmental Organizations including, Economic, social empowerment for local communities (ESLA) Uganda, Kids Club Kampala and the US based followings foundation have launched a new campaign dubbed “Community girl parliament ” striving at keeping girl child in schools and handling issues affecting them.

Studies have shown that 25% of Ugandan girls become mothers before they celebrate 18th birthday and cases of school dropouts have rampantly increased in Uganda especially among adolescent girls.

While addressing a news conference at the Kids Club Kampala head offices in Kanyanya, Kawooya Aloziyous, the director of Esla Uganda, says child Marriages and unsafe abortions are on rampage in this nation Uganda which seeks for the interventions from the general public to stand against.

“It should be remembered that the Constitution of Uganda (1995), entails all children below the age of 18 be at school with or without fail”, adds Kawooya.

By enforcing this, Government implemented the U.P.E and U.S.E school for the parents who cannot afford school dues to be catered for never the less, the standard in some of these schools is very minimal.

Meanwhile, Sam Wambayo, the executive director Kids Club Kampala, the co-partner in the campaign, revealed that many Ugandan Women get engaged in sexual acts, at an early age as early as 14 years, meaning they are prone to being infected with diseases like STDs, HIV, Teenage pregnancy issues among others.

Esla’s director Aloysius Kawooya says they have had interventions with many places in the Eastern Uganda and they are now planning to extend to other places of the country since they have mainly focused in the Central due to capacity and affordability issues.

Statistics show that Central region has got 41 of such cases and south west (that is greater Masaka covers only 37% of the 41 and Kampala covers 21%). Eastern Uganda covers 52% of early marriages, Teenage pregnancy among others according to the UNFPA report.

It is also believed that in Uganda 39% of Women aged 20-49 give birth by age of 18 and more than half (63%) have had their first birth by age 20, 30.7% were currently pregnant.

Evidence shows that girls from the rural areas totaling to 24%, give birth earlier than girls from urban areas that stand at 21% but this is due to the positive relationships between poverty, women’s education and neglect the major cause of this.

However, Wambayo noted that all these issues shall be handled during the Gal Parliament campaign, where pupils, students and other members of the public shall be met to discuss on the way forward and how to handle the matter in communities through various interventions.

Stella Nyanzi mad at Government for failure to provide pads for girls

Stella Nyanzi expressed her disappointment in Minister of education’s confession that government cannot afford sanitary pads for the girl child.

The professor took to her Facebook to state her dissatisfaction with Janet Museveni’s utterance . In her words she posts,

 


I despise people who go around addressing the first wife as “Mama Janet,” “Mama Janet,” “Mama Janet!” That woman is no mother to the nation! I refuse to refer to Janet Kataaha Museveni as Mama anything. Let the children of her womb Mama-Mama her. Uganda’s poor children are motherless.

How can a whole mother go to parliament and ask legislators to understand the claim that there is no money in Uganda to provide sanitary pads to school-girls? What sort of mother allows her daughters to keep away from school because they are too poor to afford padding materials that would adequately protect them from the shame and ridicule that comes by staining their uniforms with menstrual blood? What malice plays in the heart of a woman who sleeps with a man who finds money for millions of bullets, billions of bribes, and uncountable ballots to stuff into boxes but she cannot ask him to prioritise sanitary pads for poor schoolgirls? She is no Mama! She is just Janet!

I started my periods when I was only nine years old. My mother introduced me to disposable Lilia sanitary towels. She also taught me how to fold layers of soft toilet tissue to use in case I lacked Lilia. She also talked to me about reusable cloth which is washed, hang to dry and folded for use. She talked about dry banana fibres (ebyaayi), plaited palm mats (obusansa obuluke), hay (essubi), and soft bark cloth (embugo) that were used in the past. My mother talked about tampons but said they were too expensive for us to buy at the time.

For my mother, it was important to arm her daughters with not only the best menstrual hygiene products but also with information about alternatives to use. Having an abundant supply of Lilia pads ensured that I was saved from the worst source of shame and indignity for adolescent girls at school. My mother provided in order to protect my dignity and hygiene. I excelled at school although I was a menstruating girl.

But Museveni’s wife does not care enough for the poor daughters of Uganda whose families cannot afford sanitary materials for menstruation. Her tongue is too thick to convince Museveni to either buy less bullets or pay less bribes, and instead buy the pads to protect the feminine dignity of Uganda’s young women. Her brain is too thick to think of alternative low-budget menstruation materials. She went to parliament to ask us to understand that our girls will keep away from school during their periods because the government has no money for sanitary materials.

She will never be Mama Janet to me. I should visit her without protection during my next menstruation period, sit in her spotless sofas and arise after staining her soul with my menstrual blood! That will be my peaceful demonstration in solidarity with Uganda’s poor adolescent girls. Aluta continua!~Stella Nyanzi


 

Parents advised to take girls to school in order to curb FGM

By Patricia Osman
As Uganda joins the rest of the world to commemorate the International day of zero tolerance to Female genital mutilation, parents in areas where the act is practiced are strongly warned to keep the girls in schools where they cannot be easily persuaded or influenced into the act.
Hon. Margret Komuhangi, the Chairperson of the Parliamentary committee on Gender, Labor and Social Development says the practice continues Kapchorwa, Bukwo, Nakapiripirit, Amudat among other districts.
FGM is practiced by one per cent (1%) of Uganda’s population. Uganda passed the Prohibition of FGM Act in 2010 however experts say it doesn’t carry stringent measures.
FGM practice involves partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for non-therapeutic reasons.
Globally, it is estimated that at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of FGM.

Boko Haram leader Shekau refutes rumors about his death, scorns parents of kidnapped children

Boko Haram’s embattled leader, Abubakar Shekau, appears in a new video to deny reports of his death and to taunt the parents of the nearly 300 school girls the group kidnapped from their boarding school in 2014.

“To the despot Nigerian government: Die with envy. I’m not dead,” Shekau says in the video.
An ISIS flag is visible in the background. That terrorist organization has said it is supporting Shekau’s rival, Abu Musab al-Barnawi, as the legitimate leader of the Nigerian ISIS-affiliated terrorist movement.

The video was a response to the Nigerian army’s claim that it “fatally wounded” Shekau in a raid August 19. The army dismissed the video Sunday as evidence of Shekau’s desperation.
“The video has shown beyond all reasonable doubt the earlier suspicion that the purported factional terrorists’ group leader is mentally sick and unstable,” the army statement said.
CNN cannot independently confirm when the video was shot, or confirm its claims.
The attack that brought Boko Haram international notoriety was when Shekau’s forces captured approximately 300 girls — between the ages of 16 and 18 — from a boarding school in the town of Chibok in Borno state in April 2014.
Boko Haram, which opposes western education, wants to set up an Islamic caliphate in Nigeria.
In the video, Shekau teases parents of the Chibok schoolgirls about whether their daughters will be released and insists detained Boko Haram fighters must be released for the return of the schoolgirls.
“There’s still a long way to go. There’s still more to do by Bring Back Our Girls,” says Shekau in the video.
“We don’t (bring) back your girls. If you want your girls bring back our brethren. Bring back our brethren.”
The kidnapping sparked global outrage and prompted global figures, including activist Malala Yousafzai and US first lady Michelle Obama, to support the campaign to #BringBackOurGirls.
For a year after they were taken, the abducted girls were kept together, Amina Ali, an escaped schoolgirl told CNN in August. Then some of the teenagers — including her — were “given” to the terrorists as wives.
Shekau, however, is still shrouded in mystery. A Boko Haram insider told CNN in August the group had split after new leader al-Barnawi broke with Shekau and left with some followers, a move which the insider said left Shekau with most of the fighters in the Sambisa forest and also in control of the schoolgirls, a powerful bargaining chip for the group.
The army contends Boko Haram is significantly weakened and has been “irrational and unreliable” in negotiations over the schoolgirls.
-CNN