District leaders and teachers in Kalangala districts have lauded Uganda Youth and adolescent health forum (UYAHF) for distributing to them and guiding them through the Ministry of education and sports “Revised Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Teenage Pregnancy in School Setting – Uganda.

The guidelines were discussed during a stakeholder meeting on the 19th of February at Kibanga resource Centre. The main aim was to provide, present, and walk them through the guidelines as part of the school-centered activation for adolescent girls and boys on the provision of SRHR information, SGBV, and teenage pregnancy outreaches organized by UYAHF under the Power to Youth program.

The meeting brought together 15 participants from the district and both primary and secondary schools, including district education officials, headteachers, senior women teachers, and health workers.

During the meeting, Mrs. Namutebbi Josephine, the district principal education officer, Kalangala District led the discussion on the roles and responsibilities outlined in the guidelines specific to each stakeholder. She emphasized the importance of schools and parents encouraging teenage mothers and pregnant teenage girls to return to school and keep them in school.

“Talk to these girls, reassure them about their future, and tell them that getting pregnant or giving birth isn’t the end of the world.  If the ministry has come up with a clear guideline like this to help us enroll them then who are we not to ensure its implementation,” she added.

During her presentation, Josephine interpreted key sections of the guidelines, focusing on the roles of teachers and principals.

Mr.Josephine Namutebi, the Kalangala district principal Education officer guides the teachers through the Ministry’s guideline manual

“On page 20, in section 4.0 of the guidelines, Management of school re-entry after pregnancy, you’ll notice that your responsibilities are clearly defined there, such as 4.2.1, procedures or actions to be followed when an adolescent mother or her parent presents for admission or readmission to the school.” She guided the team.

Mr. Erisa Kaggwa, the Community Development Officer (CDO), Kalangala District also spoke about the role of various district officials and parents in managing pregnant teenagers and young mothers in accordance with the guidelines.

Mrs. Persie, a senior female teacher at Kibanga Primary School in Kalangala, stated that the meeting is extremely timely for schools because handling such a category of students without such guidance would be extremely difficult.

Mr. Godfrey Musenja, the headteacher, Kisekolo Primary School revealed that the majority of teachers did not know of the existence of the guidelines on school re-entry for this meeting.

“To be honest, most of our schools in this area were unaware of these guidelines, and if you ask any of the teachers here, they are learning about them for the first time and I really want to thank you for thinking it a good idea to bring this to us,” he added.

By the end of the meeting, school representatives and district officials pledged to work together to ensure that the guidelines are allowed and that knowledge is shared with other schools that have not yet been able to attend.

A five-member district committee, composed of representatives from all stakeholders, was formed to oversee the guidelines’ implementation in schools and communities.