YOUTH AT WORK DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE (YAWODI) REPORT (August 2022)
Kicope, Ober, Ojwina Division- Lira City Tel:+256772991893 / +256754575070
REPORT ON EFFECTS OF COVID-19 ON GIRL CHILD EDUCATION IN LANGO SUB REGION: ADDRESSING TEENAGE PREGANCY, FORCED MARRIAGES AND CHRONIC POVERTY
LCT has been working with Youth At Work Development Initiative to engage heads of families, teenagers and the youth to address teenage pregnancies and to curb chronic poverty challenges in the past year from January to August 2022
RECOMMENDATIONS/ WAY FORWARD/ACTION PLANS
Increase retention of teenage girls from secondary education up to vocational or technical levels to gain qualifications through scholarships scheme from 202 onwards.
Involve Heads of Families (i.e., Awitong) on ways of preventing teenage pregnancy and child marriage.
Stepping up advocacy.
Government must regulate for high standards of education in Lango Sub-region.
Encourage mentoring of young girls by linking them for support and counselling.
Awitong, DCDO, districts and religious leaders to engage the head teachers within their locality and visit at least 3 schools to sensitise the school community on preventive measures of teenage pregnancy and child marriage and report back to YAWODI.
Youth At Work Development Initiative (YAWODI) is a community-based organisation (CBO) registered with Lira district Local government in 2016. YAWODI works with the youth to realise their full potential through skills identification and training for economic development and self-reliance. YAWODI with support from Lango Community Trust UK (LCT) worked with different clan leaders in order to iron out unacceptable practices that don’t favour girl child education and implemented a program on reducing teenage pregnancy and forced early marriages as a result chronic poverty that was escalated by COVID-19 challenges period. The report has been produced after a visit to Lango Sub-region by Mildred Ruth Ogwal, to LCT in April 2022 to facilitate the projects.
On the 22nd April I met with Dr Orec who had already planned a number of meetings and visits with the teams and beneficiaries in Lira.
From the community dialogue held on 10th 2,2022, the district stakeholders, women councillors, health team, clan leaders, youth leaders, child mothers and the church invited pointed the following as the major cause of teenage pregnancy in lango sub region.
High domestic violence at household level
Poor parenting among community members
Lack of support from cultural, political and religious leaders on sexual reproductive health services.
Lack of commitment from the school authorities (teachers, SMC, PTA).
CAUSES OF TEENAGE PREGNANCY IN LANGO SUBREGION
Records show that:
Teenage pregnancy recorded at rate 25% (i.e., unplanned pregnancy is 6 out of 10 YAWODI, Aug 2022) in Lango Sub-region.
Chronic poverty in the sub-region with survival on less than £1 per day combined with COVID-19 challenges during the period till the end of 2022.
In Northern Uganda, Child Marriage is at 51.5% and Teenage Pregnancy at 35.3% (UDHS, 2016).
The major causes of teenage pregnancy are:
Effects of COVID-19 challenges and lock-down period during the period from 2019-February 2022.
Lack of awareness about the causes, dangers and prevention of teenage pregnancy among the teenagers and the community. This is led by negative attitudes towards education and empowering teenage girls to achieve or gain skills in life.
Lack of support from cultural leaders, political leaders and religious leaders to embrace RH services.
Lack of commitment from School authority (Teachers and SMC on prevention of teenage pregnancy).
Economic empowerment of school drop-outs age groups and increase education of the vulnerable school-age groups.
Radio talk shows to sensitize the community from time to time on early marriages and teenage pregnancy.
Lobbing for support to handle RH services in Lango (partners).
Improved quality and access to affordable services.
Empowerment of youth with knowledge on SRHR.
Total involvement of cultural leaders, religious leaders and political leaders to champion reduction of teenage pregnancy and chronic poverty in the sub-region.
Conduct community discourse and engagement to discuss ways of tackling post-COVID-19 challenges.
WHAT CAN CLAN, CHURCH, POLITICAL LEADERS DO TO CURB THE PROBLEMS?
Change in attitudes to individual members of the community like traditional barriers and addressing causes to chronic poverty and curb forced early marriages as a means to earn incomes.
Guidance and counselling at the health centres to be activated.
Take part in SMC and PTA to support the breastfeeding girls at school.
Encourage female achievers through motivation talks to aim high in order to gain qualifications.
The DCDO of Lira district followed the Clan leader’s feedback based on the model agreed to visit 9 schools as confirmed below:
Both 16 years age old boys and girls were vulnerable and were on the verge of dropping out of education.
Teenage groups from 9 schools visited became more aware of sexual education and were empowered on how to challenge unacceptable.
Likewise the parents and heads of families became interested in engaging in schools discussion to empower school age pupils and to raise awareness across parishes and the district as a whole.
Radio talk-shows to engage teenage mothers and the community reported how to voice their concerns and to device the way forward proved very productive as wider audience were involved across the Sub-region via Radio Unity and
The DCDO concluded the impact their visit made at Agweng was good and would wish to continue and expand such programs in all schools within the District.
Teenage Mothers after engagement with Ruth, Clan Leader, Project Manager and Dr. Isaac Orec at YAWODI office, Lira.
Tree planting project
YAWODI is privileged by a great training resource centre led by agro-farming specialist retired community leader who tests seeds to engage the youth in order to handle the projects with a view to expand this environmentally friendly approach while they are also able to raise fund.
A visit to the office at Agwetagwet Agro training centre where a variety of trees, foreign and local were planted in a nursery using simple and sustainable methods is promising and can be expanded. Three youths were trained and employed at Agropel training centre in Angwetangwet Lira City East Division. They too will train their age groups in cells of five youth within the geographical area.
Hair dressing/salon training programme 2022
James Ario, the proprietor, is extremely successful in benefitting from the hair dressing training model and busy working in the salon. His business has to 3 other branches of salons posted in different corners of Lira City. He too has trained the people who are now running those salons and all he does is to mentor and check on them occasionally to provide support and supervision. He is hoping to expand into bigger things but the moment he is running a unisex salon. The aim is to raise the number to 25 who would then reach out to train others too.