By David Omoding
The Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) Uganda Chapter held a National Dialogue with Members of Parliament to find practical solutions and end all forms of sexual and gender based violence mated on girls and young women, following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda.
The dialogue focused on sharing empirical evidence of the study conducted by FAWE Uganda and partners on the situation of, and impact of COVID-19 pandemic on school going girls and young women in Uganda, facilitate utilization of research findings in decision-making and policy development processes, maximize the effectiveness of the research findings in improving education and health outcomes of young people and engage policy makers in identifying possible innovations to support girls continue with education during and post the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Ms. Susan Opok Tumusiime, the Executive Director, FAWE Uganda said, “We are engaging Members of Parliament to find lasting solutions to the current challenges befalling girls and young women in Uganda. They are policy makers, we expect them to go back and act, initiate policies in parliament and pass them, review old policies and push for implementation through ensuring that adequate funds are allocated towards enforcement.”
She called upon parents and families to protect their children, provide basic needs including food, shelter and sanitary towels to shield them from wrong elements. “Parents urgently need to guard against sexual abuse in homes being perpetrated by close relatives (brothers, cousins, uncles and friends) as a majority of girls were impregnated by them during the COVID-19 lockdown. Community members and local leaders should play a lead role in monitoring and reporting cases to law enforcement agencies like the Uganda Police Force.”
Hon. Betty Aol Ochan, the Former Leader of Opposition in Parliament expressed the urgent need by the Government of Uganda to prioritize vaccination of Ugandans across the country. She decried increasing cases of sexual violence across the country with over 17,000 cases of teenage pregnancy reported in Northern Uganda by another study. She emphasized the need for Government to re-open schools and have all girls including those who conceived and delivered return to school. She commended FAWE Uganda’s effort in addressing the issue and raising it to the attention of policy makers. She urged Civil Society Organizations to continue working together and end the suffering of children especially those in the Northern part of the country.