Tooro Kingdom, PLANE Launches Campaign Against Child Marriage, Teen Pregnancies
Tooro Kingdom in partnership with PLATFORM for the NEEDY (PLANE) have launched a campaign dubbed “Secure The Girl’s Future”.
The rolled out campaign is aimed at protecting the girl child and stopping child marriages in Tooro kingdom.
The campaign will involve the Tooro Kingdom cultural leaders, clan leaders and county representatives.
The Tooro kingdom deputy Cultural minister Mwesige Zebidayo said the campaign dubbed “Secure The Girl’s Future” will protecting the girl child and ending child marriage.
He said, “Protecting the girl and ending child marriages is every one’s responsibility but this time cultural leaders will intensify the campaign to ensure the vices are controlled”.
The campaign stems from the increasing cases of child pregnancies, defilement, school dropout and child neglect in the six districts of Tooro kingdom that include Kabarole, Kamwenge, Kyenjojo,Kyegegwa ,Fort Portal Tourism City and Kitagwenda.
According to the PLANE Advocacy officer Joseline Karungi, the problem of teenage pregnancies and early marriages escalated because of the nationwide lockdown resulting from the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, which kept children out of school.
She said many parents lost their jobs and those in agriculture sector lost market for their produce thus poverty contributed a lot to these vices.
Karungi however, emphasized the need to protect children from all forms of abuse to secure the future of Tooro kingdom. She further observed that they are struggling to take care of babies while some choose to dump them in pit latrines, bushes, forests and dust bins.
Steven Waddell the Executive Director PLANE said in the partnership they are strengthening the year’s theme to enhance child protection. He argued that girls who are protected and educated to higher level have a better chance to have a brighter future compared to those married off early.
Peter Sunday Rusoke the culture minister Tooro kingdom said they do not want to bury their heads under the sand with such problems affecting children at hand. He noted that many children conceived and gave birth in the lockdown, according to reports from the district probation department.
Jamie Kakungulu, the Kabarole District Probation and Social Welfare Officer, confirmed registering more than 120 cases of child pregnancies in the district during the lockdown. She said that more awareness campaigns are needed to sensitize the communities about the dangers of marrying off young girls and how to rehabilitate them once they get pregnant.