Our efforts to end child marriage have been extended to Isingiro District – A Refugee Hosting District. The project was launched on Friday 26th June at the District Local Government Headquarters and it was attended by the District Leadership Team including the Chief Administration Officer, The District Residence Commissioner, The District Inspector of Schools, The Senior Probation and Welfare Officer, The District Police Commander, The District Community Development Officer among others.
The Project which is supported by Girls Not Brides – The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage will strengthen collaboration among different stakeholders working to protect lives of Girls.
Statistics indicate that annually over 3000 girls in the district between the ages of 10-18 attend antenatal services at health centers. This explains the extent of the problem and how urgent it is to work together with the district leadership to accelerate progress. The RDC Mr. Muhangi Herbert called upon parents to stop marrying off young girls below the age of 18 or else they will come face to face with the Law. He also informed parents about the dangers that come with early Child Birth especially Fistula that damages the entire organs of the girl. It was reported that even though Child marriage occurs to both girls and boys, its the girls that are badly affected.
Our project will focus on four sub counties including; Kabingo sub county, Nyakitunda Sub county, Rugaaga Sub county and Isingiro Town Council. We shall work closely with the leaders to popularize the National Strategy to End Child Marriage. Identifying Champions that will carry forward our Advocacy Agenda is part of the program and these will include Religious and Cultural Leaders who will share our messages of protecting the Girl Child with the parents they meet on a daily and weekly basis. Budget Advocacy will also be part of our activities addressing issues of school dropouts and budget allocations for UPE, USE as well as School Health Programs and child protection programs at the district and if they are allocated enough funds to ensure service delivery.
At the district 4 champions were identified and we look forward to working closely with them to ensure that girls are protected and supported to realize their full potential. The Probation Officer Ms Justine Atusasiire mentioned that many parents have not shown good examples to their children and that the high levels of domestic violence have also forced many young girls to run away from home leading them into marriages at a young age. She also reported that many cases of Child marriage in different communities are not reported meaning that the communities have accepted this practice and see no problem with it. Its very important that they are sensitized and reminded of the Laws and Policies that are put in place to protect young people below the age of 18.
The project is aimed at implementing and Financing important strategies, policies and services for young women and girls, Shifting harmful gender norms and Strengthening collective action to ensure that CSOs, Government and Other Partners work together to drive meaningful change in the lives of Girls.