GIRL FORCE: “UNSCRIPTED UNSTOPPABLE”

Dialogue in Commemoration of the International Day of the Girl Child

Howdy, Friday 11th October was also the commemoration of the International Day of the Girl Child all over the world and in Kampala, one of the many events held was at Hotel Africana hosted by Centre for Economic Social Cultural Rights in Africa. (CESCRA)

Masaka police stuck with defiled victims
Image source: redpepper.co.ug

In discussion were the National overview on child marriage, what is at stake, what has been done and what should be done for the girls to take over amidst the existing challenges, led by Ms Connie Samantha Numbi of CESCRA , and then a panel discussion; sharing experiences and realities on ground  – This was headed by the Concern for the Girl Child, Joy for Children, Raising Teenagers, Headteacher Ngwedo P/S, GLAC… and then an overview of Girl First Fund in Uganda and globally, let by Girl First Fund Representative.

Prior to that, the event had opened with arrival and guest registration, the arrival of the chief guest, welcoming remarks, and objectives of the dialogue, remarks from the Chief Guest, and presentation of a poem by the Girl Leader Ambassador of Change (GLACS).

Mukono Man jailed over 30 years for defiling daughter.
Image source: theugandan.com.ug

Hold! Now this poetic recitation was done by a very energetic and brilliant girl child named Udong Prisca a GLAC and student at Ngwendo primary school, who later revealed that writing is something she surely likes to do.  Her poem was on defilement and thus flowed;

Defilement

“Defilement Defilement

What a social evil

In towns, villages, schools, homes

Everywhere Defilement

Young Girls and Boys are Victims

Defilement Defilement

The merciless people; the sugar daddies and mummies

Every day,

Innocent boys and girls are infected with HIV,

Some drop out, some of the school while others die.

Due to defilement

Defilement Defilement,

This is my advice,

Young Girls and Boys,

Say no to money and Gifts

The police will help you to arrest and prosecute

Men and Women who commit such crimes…”

Ugandan Police
Image source: thedronemedia.ug

Other students further narrated scenarios in which they and several others were caught in situations that called for their school dropping out, or even early marriage. The boys in attendance also gave their share on how they understand the situation, and what they think are the reasons why several girls, particularly in these districts, drop out of school.

Other questions in the discussion were:

  • Are we doing enough towards girl empowerment?
  • Are we addressing the problem with the Right methodology?
  • Are we making noise and is it the right noise?
  • Are the girls at the center of the struggle?
  • When we are at wherever, are we bringing our brains together?
  • What is the best way to tame a girl child? (In particular, a teenage girl’s attitude)

The Centre for Economic Social Cultural Rights in Africa (CESCRA): Is a non-government Organisation that was founded in 2010 with the intent to harmonize international and regional human rights law with national reforms and strategies. The organization contributes to the realization of economic, social, and cultural rights in Africa through research, advocacy, and grassroots empowerment programs, as well as monitoring states’ compliance with the implementation of economic, social, and cultural rights. By bringing together energies and experiences from all corners of sub-Sahara Africa, CESCRA sets out to protect the economic, social, and cultural rights of the marginalized in the African continent with a focus on promoting gender equality. 

Namuyomba: Defiled, out of school, no medical care.
Image source: NewVision.Co.Ug

In her speech, Ms. Connie revealed that CESCRA’s efforts are implemented in the Albertan region, specifically Buliisa and Kikuube Districts; much as that doesn’t mean that they are limited to only those areas.  She explored scenarios and examples of how easily young girls are lied too, through petty promises such as those of being taken to Kampala.   The girls in attendance included those in primary school, those in secondary school, and those that have dropped out of school, due to reasons related to early pregnancy and marriage, poverty, stereotypes, gender-based violence, and defilement.

Attendees having a group photo at the closure of the Dialogue last Friday at Africana Hotel Kampala.

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