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Luuka District to Get Vocational Institute for Teenage Mothers

A report by the United Nations Population fund shows that Busoga sub-region contributes to over 7 per cent of teenage pregnancies recorded during the lockdown, a majority of them in the Kamuli and Luuka districts.
Uganda Human Rights Commission Commissioner Jacklet Atuhaire (Centre) the chief runner ran the 10km race along side Rotarians and activists.

Audio 5

Luuka District in Eastern Uganda will soon have a fully-fledged vocational training centre to take care of more than 700 teenage mothers, youths and Persons with disabilities, thanks to a new campaign by See Them Grow Foundation-STGF.

Brian Asiimwe Kagurusi, the Project Director of See Them Grow Foundation says that the NGO wants to train and skill the affected teenagers in hairdressing and tailoring among others, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in school closures, and came with a surge in teenage pregnancies.

Records show that up to 354,736 teenage pregnancies were registered in 2020, the first year of the lockdown and 196,499 in the first six months of 2021. It is also estimated that more than 30,000 teenage girls became pregnant each month in 2021, including about 250 children aged under 15 – mostly due to sexual abuse or coercion, according to UNICEF estimates.

A report by the United Nations Population fund shows that Busoga sub-region contributes to over 7 per cent of teenage pregnancies recorded during the lockdown, a majority of them in the Kamuli and Luuka districts. Earlier in the year, Luuka District Children Welfare Officer, Hamuza Lubaale said that the district had recorded 770 pregnancies of girls under 18  during the pandemic.

Poverty, negative media influence characterized by nudity and obscenity, low acceptance and uptake of contraceptives, and a lack of youth-friendly corners have been identified as triggers for teenage pregnancies in the region. It's on the basis of this that the NGO has now collaborated with Pride of Entebbe and Spouts of  Water as well as the Rotary Clubs of Bwebajja, Bwerenga, Muyenga, Garuga and Entebbe to raise funds for vocational institutes to benefit teenage mothers in Luuka.

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Kagurusi says the institute that will sit on 10 acres of land in Luuka district will be built in phases with the first phase estimated to cost 200,000 US Dollars (780 million Shillings).

The organisation has so far received 5,000 US Dollars (20 million Shillings) from the US-based Luena Foundation and built a block with four classrooms. It is also expecting money from the Rockefeller Foundation and other individuals who have pledged to make financial contributions for the same cause. An additional three million Shillings was collected in a run that was held on Saturday in Entebbe.

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Rotarians Michael Ayebazibwe and Harriet Bampeera Obbo have lauded See Them Grow Limited for partnering with different Rotary clubs to support teenage mothers in Luuka district. She said that teenage mothers must be skilled now so that they can start income-generating projects to support themselves and raise their children.

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