Defying and Confronting the Hurdles to Transform My People
I have just learnt that in a Secondary School in Rukungiri district, twenty girls were found pregnant at the beginning of this school term that opened in September. While in Mbale district, 60 percent of 300 deliveries (RHU health facilities) in August 2011 occurred to teenagers aged 12-17. http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/17/765703
Girls are paying the price of negligence and irresponsibility!! The rise of teenage pregnancies is attributed to poverty, unemployment, the search for material wealth and ignorance of sexual health. What perturbs me is the sexual violence happening against girls by people supposed to be their guardians. Sexual abuse takes many forms including sexual harassment, unwanted sexual contacts, coercion, harassment, rape, incest, prostitution and child trafficking. I want to reach these girls, but the people around them tend to be the risk these girls face. What a challenge!
I now appreciate the statistics in Uganda which reveals that 24 percent of adolescents aged between 15-24 years had their first sex forced. And yet 3 percent of these girls are already married by 15 years and 46.3 percent by 18 years. I ask myself, ‘what are these 15-year-olds doing in marriage?’ It is said that the younger a girl is when she experiences sexual intercourse, the higher the chances that the sex is coerced. All these are happening in the ‘eyes’ of parents and guardians most of whom are preoccupied with other responsibilities.
Challenging harmful culture and religion is also tough times I face. Its pride to marry young, child bearing is the reason for marriage, educating a girl benefits the future husband…. endless list, thus need to challenge attitudes and mindsets. It’s a process that will be slow and gradual.
The dilemma is the little appreciation for girl education among communities. Interventions to reach young people tend to yield less when these girls meet obstacles along the way to achieving their aspirations. I mean the environment where young people live and interact; the home and community environment is not conducive for healthy lifestyles. There is need for the linkage between community, school and home to be free from these bottlenecks. It’s my desire to work towards having interventions going beyond schools. My message always is ‘A person without values has no inspirations’.
Like Freidman Thomas analyses, the rise of the Internet, the creation of a global fiber-optic network, and the rapid development of long distance communication technologies has made it very easy for people all over the world to work together. It has created a global platform that has allowed more people to plug and play, collaborate and compete, share knowledge and share work, than anything we have ever seen in the history of the world. This is just spot on.
Pulsewire community is an opportunity I and my team can harness by working together across the networks to achieve our goals.
Pulsewire will propel me to achieving my vision. I am confident that the optimism I have is the faith that will lead me to achievement, for nothing can be done without hope and confidence.