Contributing to the reduction of Child Marriages’ Project in Kasese District
Alliance for Children and youth Uganda in partnership with Kasese District Local Goverment with support from The Girls First Fund, is implementing a two years project with a goal to contribute to reduction of child marriage in Bugoye and Maliba sub counties through increased access to quality Sexual Reproductive Health services and Economic empowerment for Girls at risk of child marriage.
On the 15th June 2020, Alliance for Children and Youth Uganda signed a grant agreement with the Girls First Fund, a philanthropic and Charitable fund of Capital for Good and Geneva Global, Inc. We committed to reachout to 100 girls and their caregivers in Maliba and Bugoye sub counties in kasese district, and mobilise communties and stakeholders to end Child marriages.
This project is designed on the premise that economically empowered girls who are at risk of child marriage will take charge of their lives and destiny by actively engaging in Household income generation, and facilitate them to meet their basic needs as well as accessing Quality and friendly Sexual Reproductive health services and Rights.
Our target is primarily Girls out of school and their care givers and we financially enable them to mitigate the impact of child marriage and increase gender equality through enhanced Household incomes that will enable families to meet their basic needs.
In Maliba and Bugoye sub counties, Poverty fuels the prevalence of child marriage where girls are conserved as an economic asset from which families can gain wealth through bride price. Destitute households see girls as an intolerable economic burden due to inability of their parents to meet their basic and other needs.
To mitigate poverty associated child marriages, our work focuses on economic empowerment of girls through:
Training girls on locally marketable skills and equipping them with startup tool-kits.
Supporting them and their families to form, register and operate Group Based savings Associations as a stepping stone to the use of more formal financial services in villages.
Supporting girls at risk of child marriage and their care givers especially critically Vulnerable(destitute) Households with interest free revolving microloans to start small businesses and be able to pay fees for girls willing to go back to school.
Support the sub county Community Development Oficers to conduct monthly monitoring visits to the project beneficiairies and the formed groups to ensure project sustainablity, referral and linkages to other government programmes.
Achievements so far.
98 out of 100 target girls in Maliba and Bugoye sub counties have sucessfully been trained in markatable vocational skills of hairdressing, sweater knitting and craft shoe making.
98 beneficiary girls have been clustered into managable groups od 3-4 girls and have been given start up tool kits to help them start their own saloons and busineses in their sub counties of origin. A three months rent was equally paid for them to allow their businesses grow.
300 caregivers and 100 beneficiary girls have been trained in business enterpreneurship and small scale business mangement.
Established an equiped adolescent clinic where girls and boys access free SRH services and information. We also have an outreach center in maliba sub county to cater for the youth who are far away from our office (long distances).
Two community camps have been conducted in the community as outreach to ensure sexual reproductive health services are accessible to youths and girls in hard to reach areas.
1365 adolescents have accessed the adolescent clinic for services like Comprehensive Sexuality education; Abstinence, services to prevent, diagnose and treat STIs and counseling on family planning.
Trained a strong and vibrant community structures of 60 girl to girl mentors who do beneficiary follow ups, counselling, report cases for furthure management and support, and refer cases to appropiate offices. these have been trained in reporting, counselling, life skills and referal pathways. During the corona lockdown period, the girl to girl mentors were so helpful in keeping the beneficiairy and other community members ambrest of project and developmental information.
There’s more need for
Continued sensitisation of the factors contributing to persistent child marriages in kasese district, especially the cultural institution to denounce completely the negative practices and beliefs like child marriages.
There’s need for more engagements on the need to educate the girl child, like the common saying, when you ‘educate a woman you save the nation’. parents need to embrace and support girl child education, and take back those who have given birth and dropped out of school back to complete school and live meaningful lives.
Health talks in schools should be emphasised, to reachout to the adolescents on different topics like Rights, personal hygiene and Menstrual Hygiene Management, dangers of early sex, pregnancies and marriages, career guidance, and use of female role models in the community to influence positive behavoir among adolescent girls and boys.
Need to formulate sub county based by-laws on child protection and child marriages. Child protection committees/SOVIC needs refresher trainings on their roles and responsibilies especially on identification of child protection issues, reporting and referral.
Popularising the Sauti 116 Uganda Child toll free helpline for reporting all child abuse related cases in the community. Many people in the community are not aware of this.
Extension of youth friendly services in the community especially hard to reach areas in the District, to help in quick assess to basic SRH services and information.