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Speaker Among castigates parents over early marriages

KAMPALA, June 12, 2024 – The Speaker of Parliament Anita Among has warned parents, guardians, and cultural leaders to put an end to teenage pregnancies and child marriages, saying the vice is encouraged by the unfortunate practice of viewing girls as a commodity.

Launching the Parliamentary Forum to end Child Marriages and Teenage Pregnancies in Kampala yesterday where she was named its patron, Among sounded a call to action to parents and cultural leaders, who she said carry the magic wand to end the scourge of teenage pregnancies and early marriages.

Using her own example as someone who almost fall prey to the practice , Among said the girls, too, should put up a fight and not easily give in to early marriages.
“The issue of eliminating teenage pregnancies is a reality. I happened to be a victim of this particular practice; the challenge is that the moment a parent sees a girl developing breasts, they say she is ready for marriage,” she said adding that, “I was going to Primary Seven when I almost got forced into a marriage; I took off from home, went and became a house girl, stayed in some other people’s homes and managed to pay for my own education.”

She blamed poor parenting for the increase in the vice and offered her support to the forum in creating awareness to end the practice and put the girls to school.
“One of the causes of early marriages and child pregnancy is an issue of parenting, but it also comes back to you, what do you want in life? You can be taken through all that but the resilience to move on is very important,” she added.

Among lauded the United Nations Population Fund [UNFPA] and development partners for supporting efforts to eradicate the practice saying it is time to take the fight to parents and cultural leaders, who should end practices that encourage the vice.

Lower Madi MP, Ronald Olema Afidra who is the Chairperson of the forum urged society not give up on the victims but still extend to them an opportunity to go back to school.
“Let us give them [the girls] the opportunity to go back to school where they can; we need the girls growing up to be girls, not to prematurely become mothers,” he said.

Laura Criado Lafuente who represented the UNFPA Country Representative pledged support to the new forum saying their intervention will be evidence-based, using demographic statistics to mount a laser-focused challenge against teenage pregnancies and marriages.

According to Girls Not Brides Uganda, a non-governmental organisation, 34 percent of girls in Uganda are married before their 18th birthday and a 7 percent are married before the age of 15 while 6 percent of boys are married before their 18th birthday.

On the other hand, customary marriages or informal marriages, where a girl lives with an older man, are significantly more common than registered civil or religious marriages. In addition, 10.6 percent of currently married 15-19 years old girls are married to men who have two or more wives.

A World Bank/ICRW [ International Center for Research on Women] study estimated that ending child marriage in Uganda would generate US$ 14.48 million in earnings for Ugandan women who married early.

https://thecooperator.news/speaker-among-to-address-tea-sector-plight-as-farmers-ask-for-shs-5bln/

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