On 26th October, UYAHF held the She Decides Open House festival in commemoration of IDGC on 26th October 2021 at Motiv Uganda in Kampala. This is an initiative by partners from the CSO space including Power to You(th), Uganda Youth and Adolescent Health Forum (UYAHF), Plan International, Girls Not Brides, Sonke Gender Justice, Men Engage, and Eastern African Sub-Regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women (EASSI) under the theme: Digital Generation, Our Generation: Positioning Adolescent Girls and Young Women in Uganda to Reap the Benefits of the Digital Revolution.
The colorful festival involved key communications from the various participants which focused on recognizing the role of the girl child in access to digital technology, especially in this digital era. It was also filled with entertainment by young people in the form of music, dance, and poetry.
Dr. Asaba from Makerere University, School of Women and Gender Studies mentioned that among the issues affecting girls especially in this pandemic is Sexual violence perpetrated by teachers with 90% of these cases caused by teachers and parents, increase in SGBV and GBV within families and It has widened the gender gap, cyber abuse, and violence.
The closure of schools as a step to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus has introduced the study online approach. However, because some young people have limited access to medium or even internet connection, many girls have been denied access to online studies.
Mr. Nixon, from Girls Not Brides, Acholi sub-region, in his presentation highlighted the specific issues affecting the girl child in Northern Uganda are a lot of casual work going on in Acholi sub-region like construction, this engages girls which exposes them to teenage pregnancies and child marriages.
It also came up strongly that Gender-Based Violence on the side of the boys and men in Karamoja region is a reality only that it is being ignored.
Some of the recommendations that arose include the need for monitoring and supervision around the construction areas, teamwork in order to achieve the goal of fighting against teenage pregnancies and child marriages, restocking of computers in schools in order to increase access to education, and increased allocation of budgets targeting SRHR issues for young people.
Nixon also called upon government and CSOs present to action and create platforms that enable girls to take up leadership positions and consequently amplify youth voices.