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    Speaker Among Calls for Collective Action Against Teenage Pregnancies and Child Marriages

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    Speaker Among Calls for Collective Action Against Teenage Pregnancies and Child Marriages
    • June 11, 2024 • 5 days ago
    in summary
    Speaker of Parliament Anita Among launched the Parliamentary Forum to End Child Marriages and Teenage Pregnancies, urging parents and cultural leaders to combat these issues and share her own near-victim experience. She emphasized the importance of resilience, better parenting, and education, while receiving support from the UNFPA and other partners.

    Speaker of Parliament Rt Hon. Annet Anita Among has called upon parents and cultural leaders to take decisive action against the rising tide of teenage pregnancies and child marriages, decrying the view of girls as commodities.

    In an emotional speech, she launched the Parliamentary Forum to End Child Marriages and Teenage Pregnancies, assuming the role of its patron.

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    "Parents and cultural leaders hold the key to ending this scourge," Speaker Among asserted.

    She shared her own harrowing experience, revealing she nearly became a victim of early marriage. "I was about to be forced into marriage when I was in primary seven. I ran away from home, worked as a house girl, and funded my own education," she recounted,

    Underscoring the resilience required to overcome such challenges.Speaker Among criticized poor parenting as a significant contributor to the problem and stressed the need for better awareness and education to keep girls in school.

    "The root cause of early marriages and teenage pregnancies often lies in parenting. It's crucial for girls to have the resilience to pursue their dreams despite the obstacles," she stated.

    She expressed gratitude to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and other development partners for their support in combating these practices. "It's time to take the fight to parents and cultural leaders. They must end the traditions that perpetuate this vice," she urged.

    Member of Parliament Ronald Olema Afidra (NRM, Lower Madi Constituency), Chairperson of the forum, echoed her sentiments, emphasizing the importance of providing opportunities for girls to continue their education.

    "We must give these girls the chance to go back to school. They need to grow up as children, not prematurely become mothers," he said.

    He highlighted the long-term consequences of early marriages, including limited educational opportunities and increased maternal mortality.

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    Ms. Laura Criado Lafuente, representing the UNFPA Country Representative Ms. Gift Malunga, pledged support to the new forum.

    She emphasized that their interventions would be based on demographic statistics to effectively target and reduce teenage pregnancies and child marriages.

    "Our approach will be evidence-based, using data to mount a focused challenge against these issues," she explained.

    The forum's launch signifies a renewed commitment to addressing the crisis of teenage pregnancies and child marriages in Uganda. By involving key stakeholders, including parents, cultural leaders, and international partners, the forum aims to create a supportive environment that prioritizes the health, education, and rights of young girls.

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    The Speaker's personal story and passionate plea highlight the urgent need for societal change.

    "The fight against teenage pregnancies is not just a policy issue; it's a personal one. We must all take responsibility to protect our girls and ensure they have the opportunity to thrive," Speaker Among concluded.

    As the forum begins its work, the collective effort of communities, government, and international partners will be crucial in driving meaningful change and securing a brighter future for Uganda's girls.

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