VGIF-funded Project: Preventing Teenage Pregnancy in Uganda

“When it comes to teenage pregnancy, we have all failed, sometimes we see girls escaping from school to move with boys and men in bars and hotels and we do nothing about it, even some of the men here today are guilty of using young girls.” – Project Director (PELI-U)

VGIF helped to facilitate an initiative to educate and prevent teenage pregnancy in targeted communities by funding a one-year program in Nyarushanje Sub County, Rukungiri District, Western Uganda entitled“Teenage Pregnancy Prevention and Sexual Reproductive Health/HIV/AIDS Education for Rural Girls” .

PeerLink Initiative Uganda (PELI-U) reached out to young girls in four school districts, conducting workshops and meetings for parents, teachers, and community members. Interested parties were provided opportunities to discuss sex education, a rarely discussed topic. Conversations were facilitated which led to participants feeling comfortable to ask questions and later speaking publicly and with one another.

One of the most important issues identified was where girls can get help, especially if they do not feel safe or comfortable discussing the subject in their own homes.  This helped give them a voice, instilling self-worth and confidence.

Sustainable Progress: Workshops continue, providing young girls, parents, teachers, and community members opportunities to take action and prevent the cycle of teenage pregnancy. Parents noted that they have been reminded of their responsibilities which they were taking for granted. Teachers noted that they too acknowledge their role in helping students/pupils to cope with challenges and imparting life skills.  There is need for collective effort of all stakeholders in addressing the problem. Parents have continued to consult PELI-U on issues affecting their youth. PELI-U is working closely with trained teachers to sensitize students and pupils in other schools.

“Educating the girl child is vital in equipping her with knowledge and skills to utilize in self- improvement, decision making and national development.”

One Girl’s Story My step mother would abuse me day and night, I was frustrated and wanted to run away from home but I didn’t know where to go. I started going to PeerLink offices and at some stage I shared with the staff my story. They went and talked to my step mother and when my father came to the village they also talked to him. My step mother has changed and she no longer abuses me so much. I’m still worried of how my life will be but I now accept the situation I’m in and I’m ready to have my child.  I know it’s going to be difficult and I wish I had information about sex and relationships possibly things would be different.

Olivia Mugabirwe, Project Director and Executive Director of PeerLink Uganda, and Leslie Wright, Convener of VGIF UN Committee, at the VGIF CSW56 parallel event. 
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