By Edward Akaki – Moroto
A section of leaders of Moroto district have blamed the high rate of teenage pregnancy in the district and region at large to laxity by some parents who do not teach their children good morals or leave them to learn from others.
This was during the launch of the live your dream youth camp at Moroto high school in Moroto district which gathered over 200 participants from all over Karamoja with priority being given to teenage mothers and fathers of between 15 to 24 years of age.
LC5 chairperson Moroto district David Koriang said, most parents fear to tell their children the truth about sexuality education which has led to a lot of self learning from peers and as such many youth especially girls end up being pregnant when still young.
He said as the district council, they will try all their level best to set up legislations that will hold parents who encourage such acts accountable but also regulate businesses in urban settings that are employing young girls while exposing them to more danger of being blindfolded by rich men who only want to sexually use them unsuspectingly.
William Wopuwa the Resident District Commissioner of Moroto encouraged the youth to remain committed to the camp and learn more about attitude change, reproductive health among others so that they can be change champions in their respective societies.
Winfred Apio the Uganda Youth Adolescents Health Forum (UYAHF) programs manager says after a successful conference last year, a lot has been achieved including some pregnant young mothers by then going back and completing school.
She said upon receiving several success stories, they decided to organize year’s edition and hoped to do another one that will bring together youths and parents to dialogue on certain harmful cultural practices and challenges faced so that decision making in families can be inclusive and teenage marriage or pregnancies fought forever in the region.
Upon completion of the youth camp yesterday 7th December, 2022, different youths were able to open up on their earlier experiences and challenges and how the youth camp has made them better persons.
Keem Brenda Pulkol
A 24 year old youth who gave birth at the age of 18 due to the passing of the dad that hindered her studies, opted to get married with belief that the man will take her back to school.
According to Pulkol, the man she solely loved and gave herself to left abrubtly leaving her a single mother. She now takes care of her child through on her own.
////cue in……. pulkol on mothering alone….cue out////
She confessed that most people in the village do not think HIV aids is a killer disease but through the camp she now understands.
////cue in ……pulkol on gains in the camp…..cue out////
A 22 year old rehabilitated former drug addict, reflected on his life saying peers in school and movies made him think drugs is a way to success, he said he was being stigmatized in the community after his rehabilitation which made him feel out of place.
////cue in……wacha on the drug use…..cue out////
The young boy who started drug abuse at 15 from school majorly used and sold Marijuana before realizing the effects. Through the youth camp he felt relieved as it gave him a chance to share his story with the fellows with no regret of what the other parties will think.
////cue in….. wacha on sharing his story……cue out////
Martha (Not real names for self safety)
A pregnant 17 year old girl who preferred anonymity dropped out of school in August, 2022 after the demise of the dad who was the bread winner in the family and the uncles took the advantage to marry her out to an elderly man in search for cattle.
She is currently about 3-4 months pregnant and wishing she had another chance at school now that the ‘so-called’ husband has left her.
She says life is not at its best as a young pregnant girl without a man responsible and was forced to leave her ‘marital home’ to run back to the mother who as well is helpless.
////cue in…… martha on her story,,,,cue out///
The young vibrant girl, after attending the youth camp now has hopes of rejoining school upon delivery in the rise of chance from a possible sponsor.