The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga has called upon the public to create a conducive environment for children to achieve their dreams.
The Speaker said that government should support this by bringing facilities closer within reach of children. She was speaking at the launch of the “Live your dream” campaign spearheaded by UNFPA and the government of Uganda today, Tuesday 6th February, 2018 at Kampala Sheraton Hotel.
“The Campaign is about supporting young Ugandan people, protecting them against gender based violence, early marriages and HIV Infection,” she said, adding that, “There are obstacles like teenage pregnancy which are because of ignorance or the environment these girls live in; it is our responsibility to lower those chances.”
Kadaga added that vices like female genital mutilation (FGM) which affect young women are still being practiced in certain parts of the country and it is upon the government to promote awareness about it.
“Incidentally today is the international day on the fight against FGM; I hope this becomes recognized as a national day because of recent it has been left to the victims of FGM and NGOs,” she said, further noting that, “On the 30th of November I want you to join in the fight to curtail the practice and support the day.”
Kadaga said there is need to bring the education and other facilities close to the children.
“I was invited to Tooro to launch a girl’s dormitory and I was told people walk 30 kilometers to go school; this creates an opportunity for them to be way-laid by rapists and be taken advantage of by Boda-Boda men. The government should therefore put facilities close to the young girls and parents should support their children,” she said.
The Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Jane Aceng said that it is important to invest in young people to enable reach full potential for a functional population.
“Young people especially in puberty and adolescence face a lot of challenges and vulnerabilities, which is evident in the fact that they face the highest prevalence of new HIV infections; we therefore need to help them through these challenges,” she said.
Dr. Aceng added that the Ministry is in full support of the campaign and encouraged parents to always provide support to their children especially the teenagers.
“Some parents do not know how to speak to children about issues regarding sex; we also do not know how to support them to participate in activities that build them and the nation, yet these are things that we should do,” she noted.
The Assistant Commissioner for Ministry of Health, Mr. Tabley Bakyaita, said that the campaign was launched and spearheaded by the UNFPA in partnership with the government of Uganda.
“This campaign benefits young people between the age 10 – 24 and teenage girls of reproductive age; it also focuses on letting girls be girls; encouraging them to choose books before babies and engaging all stakeholders across all generations in realizing these dreams,” Bakyaita said.
He thanked the UNFPA for the programme and the governments of Sweden, Denmark and Korea for their support.
The programme is set to target the entire country especially in those areas with the high pregnancy and early childhood marriage prevalence.