OPINION: Is the Girl Child Safe?

By Joshua Thembo On my way to Arua city, West Nile subregion earlier this week (where I am currently camped for official duties), I lodged in Kigumba town for a night because it was late for me to proceed with my journey. But in the search of accommodation, I learnt that we are in the … The post OPINION: Is the Girl Child Safe? first appeared on ChimpReports.

OPINION: Is the Girl Child Safe?

By Joshua Thembo

On my way to Arua city, West Nile subregion earlier this week (where I am currently camped for official duties), I lodged in Kigumba town for a night because it was late for me to proceed with my journey.

But in the search of accommodation, I learnt that we are in the “Nsenene” (grasshopper) season. I saw several harvesting points for the Ugandan delicacy, and the owners were even sleeping near these traps, watching over their prey as they smashed against the iron sheets amidst the dazzling lights.

Initially, I was amused by the ladies who were indulging in the harvesting process. This was around 7:00 pm.  However, on waking up at 4:00 am to proceed with my journey, I saw so many young girls around the light traps, and others were in dark spots with young men.

This disturbed me and I kept on asking myself questions; Are our girls safe? Who is protecting the girl child? Where are the parents and caregivers? I kept on brushing off the thought that these young girls could be lured into undesired behaviour with just a handful of “nsenene”.

We know that nationally, one in every four girls has begun childbearing. This implies that we are heading to a situation where children are struggling to provide for their fellow children because they have not attained the minimum academic qualification. We are yet to see a country with child mothers, together with their children depending on very competitive government programs because they cannot be hired by corporate organisations.

Aware that poverty is one of the key drivers of teenage pregnancy, we need to be intentional about the economic activities we are engaging the girl child in. Some could be good, however, there is a need to look at the safety of this population. The parents and caregivers need to play their roles. We should be learning from the effects of COVID-19. Yes, we can do better. It will take us all to play our roles.

The Writer is a Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Advocate working with Naguru Teenage Information and Health Centre

 

The post OPINION: Is the Girl Child Safe? first appeared on ChimpReports.