At least 33 teenage girls in Acholi are being made pregnant everyday since the lock down when they stopped going to school.
In all so far, a whopping 4,000 girls in the Acholi sub-region have become pregnant in four months of the lock down, an average of a thousand girls conceiving every month and 33 per day.
The statistics statistics obtained from Human Rights Focus who gathered them in the 6
Districts indicate that 4062 young girls became pregnant since the lock down started late March upto Mid-August
Lamwo District presents a higher number with 1,000 girls
followed by Pader with 920, Agago 730, Nwoya 640, Amuru 620 while Gulu
comparatively registered low cases with 'only' 150 girls being made pregnant.
Francis Odongyoo, the Executive Director of Human Rights
Focus says most of the cases are linked to poverty while some girls sought to become pregnant fearing that Covid-19 will kill them without children and they needed one at least.
Geoffrey Okello, the Executive Director for Gulu NGO Forum says
the lock down has increased vulnerability of people exposing the girl child to
higher risk of sexual abuses and forced marriages.
He says his own boy who qualified to join University this year
has impregnated a colleague in Senior Four and describes the level of teen pregnancies
in the region has unprecedented.
“I was a bit lucky that the girl was slightly above 18 but I
can tell you I have to take the full responsibility and the boy is equally
devastated” Okello told Uganda Radio Network on Thursday in an interview.
Nicolas Ogwang, the Uganda Human Rights Commission
Regional Officer for North revealed that the Commission is seeking to partner
with the cultural institutions in the region to address the phenomenon.
“We have seen the problem and it’s immense and that’s why we
need to engage the tradition leaders who even sometimes officiates such
marriages so that they prioritize girl child education instead” Ogwang
Betty Aol Ocan, the Leader of Opposition and the Woman
Member of Parliament in Gulu has called on the parents to provide guidance to
children and home to protect them.
“Child marriage denies a girl opportunity to complete school
and realize her full potential and we shall all stand against it if we want to
build a culture where men and women are treated equally” Aol said.
Micheal Lakony, the Amuru District Chairman says the
District saw the rising cases of teen pregnancies as early as March and
embarked on a door to door sensitization using the local leaders and village
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Cue out…….”We are going……..”//
Tuku Pee- Joseph, the area LCI chairman of Ogali village in Amuru Sub
County says they have rescued 3 girls who were already married off and tracing
7 more who disappeared a month ago.
“Those we are following are between the ages of 14 to 16 and
are in Primary Six and Seven but we have spent a month in tracing their
whereabouts so far,” Tuku-pee added.
In Gulu District, Philiphs Ongwec Agella, the Local
Councilor II for Pagik Parish in Paicho Sub County, says 15 girls in his area were married
off since lock down was announced in the Country.