By Ambrose Kweronda

Girls to Lead Africa has partnered with a group of Boda Boda riders in Kanungu District to work together to end teenage pregnancies and child marriages in the district.

On the other hand, Bodas have an organised network and hence can pass on information quicker than any other medium in rural areas like Kanungu where many people don’t have phones, connection to internet and TV coverage

The Executive Director of Girls to Lead Africa (GTLA) Honest Fortunate Kansiime said that they decided to engage the Boda Boda cyclists because they were found to be top among men who impregnate the girls .

Boda Bodas know the tactics men use to lure girls into formication since the Bodas use the same tactics and they are men themselves. So it becomes effective when we “set a thief to catch a thief”. We want them to respect these girls as their sisters or daughters.

Boda Bodas who are fathers to teenage girls will protect girls because they are protecting their daughters. If every boda guards their daughter jealousy, girls will have an organised network of guards.

We have distributed free reflector jackets to all members of Girl-Safe Boda for easy identification. So when girls are looking for a boda to take them, they look out for a Girl-safe Boda because they are assured of their safety since a Girl-safe Boda won’t violate them.

Therefore, Girl-Safe Bodas will champion the fight against teenage pregnancies and child marriages. This will in turn ensure that many girls will resume schooling once schools reopen.

The same organization has distributed sanitary pads to 500 girls.

Even when schools are closed, sanitary pads are a basic need which the girls must have. We provided reusable sanitary pads to 500 girls. Each girl received a packet that contained four reusable pads and a pouch for carrying the pads. This packet can take the girl for one year (12 menstrual cycles).

The Kanungu Education Officer in charge of Guidance and Counselling Twishime Erasmus said when girls are abused its hard for them to return back to school.
“As educationists we are worried that Covid19 has affected the education sector most especially the girl child. How many will not return to school when they are eventually reopened?”, asked Twishime
Twishime made the remarks yesterday while delivering a key note address to Boda boda members who were mobilized by Girls to Lead Africa (GTLA), an organization that is operating in Kanungu District with an aim of empowering the girl child.
Twishime said some girls have become pregnant while boys have ventured into businesses and this will make some of them fail to return to school.
He said that the affected girls need psycho-social support to rediscover themselves so that they can return to schools and get life skills to support their future life.
Ms Fortunate Kansiime said that they have mobilized over 300 Boda Boda cyclists in Kanungu District whom they sensitize on how to support the empowerment of the young girls because most of them are parents.
She said that girls need a lot of respect, support and care so that they can become future mothers and dependable leaders.
The meeting for Girl to be Safe with Boda boda took place at Kihihi High School in Kihihi Town Council in Kinkizi West
The participants agreed to become more aggressive in protecting the girls by reporting to authorities those they suspect to be sexually abusing the young girls.
Ms Kansiime appreciated the work already being done by the members of Girl Safe Boda who gave testimonies on how they have reported incidencies of girl child molestation and urged them not to give up but to report to LC, Police, or Girls to Lead Africa so that such girls are rescued and supported.
She pledged to them branded helmets so that they can easily be identified as Girl Safe Boda members.

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