Realization of sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) of youth and adolescent especially girls remains a challenge to East African countries which constitute of young populations. Girls are vulnerable to harmful practices such as forced, child and early marriages and teenage pregnancies, unsafe abortion, female genital mutilation (FGM), beading among the Samburu, sexual violence, malnutrition and reproductive tract infections including sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as well as HIV and AIDS and those caused by poor menstrual hygiene. Though East African countries have been signatory and made commitments to several international and regional human rights treaties and declarations such as ministerial Commitment on Comprehensive Sexuality Education and SRH Services for Adolescents and Young People in Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA, 2013, Uganda & Kenya), and national policies and Acts such as Sexual Offences Act (Kenya &Uganda in Bill form), Children’s Act, Counter Trafficking in Persons Act and Prohibition of FGM Act (Kenya & Uganda). These remain largely unenforced.
Since 2019 ;
We have rolled up a campaign against early marriage and teenage pregnancies with signs of having greater impact in making girls centre of social transformation, to enhance girl’s leadership, engaging paired up parents to engage fellow parents and mobilising communities to join the campaign against early marriage and teenage pregnancies in Uganda. To this, we have and are still empowering the voices of the primary target groups, built their capacities and have directly engaged them in taking lead in the activities of challenging negative social norms, attitude and behaviours aimed at ending early marriage and teenage pregnancies. The campaign “I Stand Up Against Early Marriage” targets girls aged 13 to 24 years both in-school and out of school, apparently within Buliisa, Kikuube and hoima districts in the Albertine oil region; it is from this bottom-up approach that our national, regional and international advocacy is informed.