Breaking

Bundibugyo Turns to Para-Social Workers to Curb Early Child Pregnancies

The district probation officer Grace Pamela says they are worried that the suspension of schooling activities could fuel the already high cases of child pregnancies among school girls.
Grace Palema says they are worried that the suspension of schooling activities could fuel teenage pregnancies

Audio 7

Bundibugyo District is resorting to the use Para-Social workers to address cases of child pregnancies during the closure of schools.

Last week, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni announced fresh restrictions as part of measures to control the COVID-19 transmissions in the country in face of the second wave of the pandemic.

Among the fresh restrictions, the president directed was the closure of all educational institutions across the country for 42 days.

During the first lockdown last year, more than 2,000 girls were impregnated while others were married off. 

The para-social workers are persons of integrity identified by community leaders to voluntarily handle or refer family related issues to responsible offices. 

Last year, the district recorded more than 200 teenage pregnancies in the first lockdown with many of these school girls.

The District Probation Officer Grace Pamela says they are worried that the closure of schools for 42 days could fuel the already high cases of child pregnancies among school girls.

 

She says many young girls are usually lured by men into sexual acts with a promise of taking care of their basic needs during such times when parents are financially constrained. 

//They do sensitization… 

Cue out: …and the community.”//

Pamela says that they found out that poverty and disagreements over ownership of property are contributing greatly to Gender-Based Violence.  She says they are relying on the efforts of local NGOs in the district.

//Cue in: “They have helped…. 

Cue out: …to justice centre.”//

However, the probation officer decries the limited resources at her disposal that affect the operations of her office.

//Cue in: “Most of the times… 

Cue out: …on the children.”//

Erias Byomukama one of the parasocial workers in Ntotoro Sub County says that that within two weeks the sub-county has already registered four cases of early pregnancies. All the victims are primary school girls. 

Byomukama says the cases could rise with many children back home if there is no collective responsibility from leaders and parents.

//Cue in: “They are there… 

Cue out: …early pregnancies.”//

However, Byomukama decries the lack of resources including transport to support their intervention appealing to the government to recognize their work.

//Cue in: “There is a need… 

Cue out: “…they are conniving.”//

Christine Atukunda working with Agency in Co-operation for Research and Development ACORD, a local NGO empowering young women and girls says there is a need to empower girls with information.  She criticizes parents and local leaders for concealing defilement of pregnancy cases.

//Cue in: “We have to provide… 

Cue out: ...kind of amount."//

She says learners are no longer prepared to deal with sexual relationship demands with many teachers aiming at only completing the syllabus. 

//Cue in: “Even in school… 

Cue out: ...was their aim."//

Justus Bithaghalire, the Bundibugyo District Education Officer advises parents to be vigilant of any relationships their children are engaged in.

Images 1

Keywords

Entities