BY EDWARDS AKAKI
MOROTO: MONDAY, JULY 25, 2022
Youths in Moroto district have petitioned the district to eliminate child marriage, teenage pregnancy and school drop out of Adolescents.
They content that during the COVID-19 lockdown that lasted for over two years, many of the school going adolescents in the Karamoja district of Moroto became victims of premature sex that led to teenage pregnancies, child marriages and many child mothers in the Karamoja region.
In the petition letter handed over to the different key stake holders in the district, the adolescent peers expressed that they are well aware of the existing laws against Domestic violence, the Children’s Act, Female Genital Mutilation Act, and the trafficking in persons Act among others with special departments in the district to handle their concerns.
The petition was presented to the district officials by the peer advocates from Nadunget, Rupa, Loputuk, South Division and North Division sub-counties of Moroto district at Boma Grounds on the July 21, 2022.
The Trailblazers Mentoring Foundation organized the event under the theme “protect the girl, save the nation.”
Amongst the issues raised by the adolescents include the district returning to school all their peers who dropped out for different reasons, initiation of by-laws against parents to end child marriage and teenage pregnancies, considering child mothers, pregnant girls and PWDs first when government or any aid comes across and addressing gender based violence.
David Koryang, the LC5 chairperson of Moroto district, said that children are the future of the country and need to be protected at all costs and that his council will make sure this is done to change the state of Karamoja.
He however accused the teachers and parents of being misguided on Children’s Rights that has affected the nurturing of the children.
“Teachers and parents have failed to differentiate what exactly the law says or does not say about children’s rights. But I encourage the children to stick to school and achieve bigger goals,” Koryang said.
The District Education office, Paul Oputa, said they are linking up with other development partners to help child mothers, pregnant girls and the domestically abused children through paying for their tuition and providing other scholastic materials.
He added that: “the biggest cases of child abuse is done by the parents not the teachers as some leaders are stating, originally the child could stay in school for 9 months a year and only 3 months at home and the pandemic has really shown how the teachers take care of the children than the parents who could control the adolescents during the lockdown.”
Oputa promised to always be on the side of the children when it comes to education through time-to-time capacity building of the teachers on how to handle the extremely marginalized children community in school.