BUSOGA MPs Embark on Campaign to Lure Back Pregnant Girls to School

By Solomon Hamala




Members of Parliament hailing from Busoga sub region in conjunction with the National Children Authority (NCA) have kicked off an aggressive campaign aimed at luring pregnant or teenage mothers back to school.



The campaign will involve meeting district religious, cultural leaders, head teachers, parents and members of the public within the entire sub region carrying out sensitization meetings on benefits of girl child education.



The executive director national children authority (NCA), Martin Kiiza said Busoga region has registered the highest number of students who have failed to return back to school after the COVID 19 break.


“We have 45 percent of our students still languishing in villages with no hope of going back to class to realize their life time dreams,” he said.



Kiiza said majority of the students especially girls fear to return back to school because of their current situation of being pregnant, others delivered and fear being stigmatized while boys are involved in petty businesses like selling roasted meat, maize along busy highways or mining gold supplement on their family incomes.


“All children deserve the right to education, health, protection including refugees, child mothers and those with disabilities,” he said.



NCA was enacted following an act of parliament to create awareness on the right of a child to be protected from abuse.


The Woman Member of Parliament Namayingo, Margaret Makokha urged all sub counties to pass bye laws that will compel parents holding girls who delivered during the COVID 19 break to return them back to school to ensure they compete their education.


“These girls are our future leaders of tomorrow and leaving them stay back at home will be doing them a disservice,” she said.



Makokha who also doubles as the chairperson parliamentary forum for children urged district inspectors to intensify on the monitoring process in all government aided schools as way of reducing on cases of absenteeism amongst teachers.


“Some of our teachers during the COVID 19 break tried out other businesses and realized they are profitable and have decided to continue with them while earning free money without doing any work at school,” she said.



She appealed to government to introduce skilling programs in both lower, upper school curriculum to ensure dropouts acquire employable skills for survival.



During the launch of the program at Namayingo district headquarters, the head teacher Banda secondary school, Aphan Kagoda attributed the increase in number of teenage pregnancies in Namayingo district on the culture amongst Samia people.


“Girls in the district enjoy sex with elderly men just after developing their periods exposing them to chances of getting pregnant,” he said.



Kagoda accused some parents of failing to provide lunch to their daughters leaving them to survive on offers from well-wishers like boda boda cyclists.


“After two days of buying chapatti for the girl the boda boda cyclist later demands for sex from the student,” he said.



The Member of Parliament Kigulu South, Milton Muwuma said legislators had resolved to carry out abrupt visits to schools especially in rural areas to assess the situation besides check out on teacher absenteeism.



Muwuma appealed to teachers to always use friendly language while speaking to girls who would have delivered during the COVID 19 break in order not to scare them away from attending lessons.


The senior education officer Luuka, Nasabu Nantale said majority of girls even before the COVID 19 break fell pregnant as a result of poverty amongst most homesteads.


“Most of the girls fell prey to sugar cane cutters who would offer small gifts like cakes, sodas in exchange for sex,” she said.



Nantale said efforts to track down some of the girls who fell pregnant is likely to prove hard since most of them escaped with their husbands to unknown places.


“It’s only the parents of both the girl and boy who can offer help in tracing the whereabouts of these couples,” she said.


The District Education Officer Namayingo, Kawo Nayi Kawere said fishermen have also played a big role in contributing to the increasing cases of teenage pregnancies in the district.


“These men offer big sums of money to these young girls in exchange for unprotected sex,” he said.


The LC 3 chairman Banda town council, Cleveas Oguttu urged parents to play their cardinal role of bringing up children morally to ensure they become responsible citizens of the country.


Ogutu said the district is to soon pass a bye law banning girls below the age of 16 from taking part in Karaoke dances held in bars during night hours.


“Most of the girls are getting lured into having sex with men after performing these shows,” he said.


The district education officer Bugiri, Henry Kaabulo said some parents have contributed to the increasing cases of child marriages by negotiating for bribes from suspects involved in defilement of their daughters.


“Due to poverty amongst most households some of the parents prefer solving cases outside court making it hard to curb the practice of defilement,” he said.


However a pupil of Hindocha primary school In Bugiri municipal council, Sandra Mutesi 14 urged parents to provide their daughters with basic necessities like lunch, sanitary pads to ensure they comfortably pursue their studies.


“Most girls are dropping out of school just because they feel lonely during their menstruation periods,” she said.


Mutesi who returned back to school after giving birth to bouncing baby girl during the COVID 19 break said the man who impregnated her bought her one packet of sanitary pads and shillings 2000 before demanding for sex one week later.


“I feared telling my parents fearing that they would beat me up one month later after missing my periods,” she said.


Unfortunately the man who impregnated her, a boda boda cyclist Amuza Kagoda who operates at MTN stage in Bugiri municipality has denied ever having sex with her besides declined to offer any assistance.




Mutesi advises girls to always say no to sex besides engaging in doing house hold chores instead of watching pornographic material to avoid falling prey to lusty men.


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