The Day of the African Child (DAC) is celebrated globally on June 16 every year since 1991, when it was first initiated by the Organization of African Unity. It remembers and honors those who participated in the Soweto Uprising in 1976 on that day.
On this day NGOs and partners team up to raise awareness on the continuing need for improved education standards and other human rights provided to an African child.
Every year, governments, NGOs, international organizations and other stakeholders gather to discuss the challenges, opportunities and to consolidate their efforts in addressing the problems for the full mental support and realization of the children’s rights in Africa.
The theme for the Day of the African Child (DAC) 2015 was “25 Years after the Adoption of the African Children’s Charter: Accelerating our Collective Efforts to End Child Marriage in Africa”. This year’s celebration was held in Kayunga district.
Almost two million Ugandan minors are forced or lured into alleged marriage, according to 2012 UNFPA, UNICEF, WHO report.
Uganda falls among the 15 worst African countries with high numbers of child brides at 46% of underage girls below 18 forced or lured in marriage.
Child marriage violates the human rights of the Girl child, limits her future and the realization of her full potential.
PLATFORM for the NEEDY (PLANE) continue to implement different initiatives to help address the vice like raising the awareness, economic empowerment, supporting girls education by providing scholastic materials, and also the formation of school clubs against the vice. These clubs have proved to be good platforms for girls to share their views on early marriage.
In a move to end the alarming and worrying child marriages, on the Day of African Child, PLANE conducted a two hours radio talkshow on Voice of Tooro fm and discussed on girl Child Education and Ending early Marriage basing on the theme.
There were five guests in the show who included Ainganiza Steven Executive Director PLANE, Beatrice Murungi Programs officer, a teacher from Kabahango primary in Buheesi Sub County and three girls in Primary 6 and 7 AND Bumali Joseph the Local council II chairperson Kabahango parish.
During the discussion, the audience was allowed to react and respond to the topic.
24 people called in but 70% of the callers said poverty, parent’s neglect and greedy for money among the patents’ contributed much to the early marriages.
They observed the need for continued and intensive sensitization of parents on their rights and importance of girl child education.
The people also noted that leaders and government had given children many rights which was also affecting their education.
20% of the callers said the district and leaders were not inspecting schools to empower teachers and children on issues affecting children especially the girl child, thus giving any opportunity to the teachers defiling them.
In their response, the Guests recommended team work among NGOs, leaders and other stallholders in ending teenage marriages.
They noted that there is need to intensify mobilization of parents and local leaders to sensitize them on the girl child education and its importance. They said its every ones responsibility, religious leaders, community, teachers, local and district leaders to team up hold dialogues and educate the people on the dangers of early marriages and educating a girl child using examples in community.
Executive director Steven Ainganiza explained that teenage pregnancies and early marriages not only affect the girl (victim) but also the community because it will never have educated people to bring development and transformation.
He said they have embarked on the campaign “My Hand In Ending Early Marriages” in the Rwenzori region with intension to fight and eradicate child “marriages” especially in the Mountainous sub counties of Karangura,Kabonero, Kisomoro,Kicwamba,Katebwa and Ntoroko district.
They are moving to different primary and secondary schools talking to the students and pupils and educating them through BAHEMUKA DRAMA.