Refugees urged to promote girl child education

By Gaaniko Samson Jerry

Authorities in Uganda have urged refugees to promote girl child education to avert the increasing teen pregnancies in the camps.

Bidibidi refugee settlement in West Nile has registered 80 increased cases in teenage pregnancy amongst the refugees during the coronavirus lockdown.

Solomon Osakan, Refugees Desk Officer in the Office of the Prime Minister in Arua district said early pregnancy and early marriage was on rise in the refugee settlement due to the school closure.

He said it was the responsibility of each parent to protect their daughters since school authorities could not reach them due to the lockdown.

Osakan said unlike when schools were operating, the senior women teachers could teach girls about dangers of sexually transmitted infections and other health reproductive issues.

“We can’t do much until the lockdown is lifted but we will continue to sensitize people on radios and continue where there are few meetings to inform leaders to protect the lives of everybody,” he added. 

Gabriel Batali, Chairperson for South Sudan Refugees Association said not only those in the settlement but also young girls in the urban areas were equally experiencing same issues.

He said cases of teen pregnancies were on rise simply because most girls were living alone in the camp without the parents.

“Most of them their parents are in South Sudan and the children are staying alone and when they were in schools they could not misbehave since the senior women teachers were there to guide them,” he said.

“Another reason could be the level of poverty in the camps since the refugees are poor that forces the young girls to go for sex in order to get money for their daily needs,” Gabriel stressed.

He urged the young girls to distance themselves from social places like markets.

He also urged the young girls to listen to advice of any other elder living in the community even if that person is not her parents.

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