In the community dialogue about child protection organized by CDO- Nakalama sub-County in conjunction with Faith Discipleship Ministries International (FAMI), that took place in first term before the closure of schools noted that the freedom given by the Government to child had made Parents to become reluctant in disciplining their own children was noted to be one of the causes of Child marriage and teenage pregnancy. Other causes given by Parents and Children included: Peer influence, poverty and mistreatment. This has been on a small scale because Children had been receiving guidance and Counseling at School. But Covid19 protective measures that included the closure of all schools and educational institutions from 20th March 2020 to date by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Uganda the number of child marriage and teenage pregnancy has increased. For instance: on 7th, June, 2020 NBS TV’S at 01:00 pm ran a story about the increasing rates of teenage pregnancies in Busoga sub-region. In particular, this press release indicated that over 60 learners between the age of 14-15 years in Luuka and Kaliro districts were pregnant and likely to miss school when 2nd term re-opens. It further indicated that these pregnancies are partly attributed to the Coronavirus lockdown which has exposed young girls to perpetrators. In Luuka and Kaliro District report shows that: most of the girls were forcibly married off by their poverty stricken parents and guardians after getting token amounts of money and gifts in the form of domestic necessities like sugar, salt and soap and some of the girls opted for marriage in order to escape harsh treatment by their guardians.
However, FAMI staffs that were involved in community dialogue about Child protection at Kakongoka, Nakalama sub-county convinced three girls and their parents that had left school due to early pregnancy and accepted to go back to School after giving birth. As FAMI we recommend immediate investigation by the concerned Government officials and prosecute the perpetrators of sexual violence in accordance with the laws of Uganda such that the Men implicated in the 60 cases of defilement to serve as a starting point. To work with NGO’s such as FAMI, CSOs and FBOs leaders to explore most innovative and flexible approaches to prevent the further occurrence of teenage pregnancy in Uganda during the lock down and post lock down periods. Putting in mind that the story of the 60 girls is just a tip of what is going on the communities and there many unreported cases across the country. FAMI as an organization is organizing to create awareness on the dangers of early pregnancy and Child marriage to the community, the role of parents in provision of guidance and counseling to their Girl and boy child on child marriage and teenage pregnancy. This should be done through community dialogue meetings, radio talk shows and other media platforms. The Government of the republic of Uganda to permit organizations responsible for Girl child rights to organize community workshops putting in mind Covid19 preventive measures this will help to curb the increasing number of child marriage and teenage pregnancy.