Child protection among women and Girl Child
Child marriage is a health and human rights issue, especially for girls and women in the developing world, Uganda inclusive. In Mbulamuti sub country lies along river Nile, the problem is high compares to other parts of the country. Kamuli is mainly inhabited by soga and Balamogi tribes of Uganda that live in highlands and the slopes of Mount Kaguru covering districts of Kamuli, Karilo and Luuka districts. Child Marriage is one of the harmful practiced by these tribes in areas within and long River Nile. Girls as young as thirteen are married off either with men within their age brackets or much older than them in exchange of goats, chicken or gardens of cassava.
The problem of child in the area has been precipitated by ignorance of both parents and children on the value of education, lack of awareness on the dangers of early and forced marriages, the same community has low value for girl child education, Ignorance of the parent on risks associated with marrying girls at an early age, poverty, traditional norms and practice, illiteracy among others are some of the factors that perpetuate child marriage. The conflict as a result of Allied Democratic Front (ADF) that attacked Eastern Uganda in 1996 contributed to the increase in child marriage in the region, as a result of this war, many families and social settings were disrupted for more than a decade of civil unrest. Many people were killed, women and girls kidnapped and given as rewards to war combatants or given as wives for loyal and high ranking rebel officials.
Early marriage is a widespread problem in Uganda. UNICEF estimates that 46 percent of women aged 20-24 years old were married before they were 18. That is much higher than the African average of 34 percent.
Discrimination against girls is a cross-cutting issue. It affects women and girls' ability to contribute to, and benefit from, sustainable development across areas such as education, health, and livelihoods. A growing body of evidence has linked early marriage with negative health, education, and economic outcomes. Recently published global reviews have documented that young women who marry early are more likely than their peers to experience early school departure, lower earning capacity, earlier and more frequent childbearing, complications in pregnancy, higher maternal mortality, increased risk of HIV infection, and higher infant mortality (Singh and Samara, 1996; UNICEF, 2001; Mukuria et al., 2005; UNICEF, 2005; ICRW, 2007). From a human rights perspective, many women who marry before age 18 do not have the opportunity to decide for themselves whether and when to marry and, in many cases, this single event shapes their entire adult lives.
While the work done by different organizations to end child marriage is commendable, early marriage continues to be widespread and is still socially accepted in many cultures in Uganda. According to International Center for Research on Women (ICRW, 2007), Uganda ranks the 9th with 54.1% of girls marrying before the age of 18. It is becoming increasingly clear that more effort needs to be made in terms of putting into action the recommendations emerging from these reports.
It’s against this background that Joy for Children is proposing a pilot project in Mbulamuti Sub County Kamuli District, Eastern to reducing and ending Child marriage.
The overall objective of the project is to contribute to reduction in cases of child marriage around Mbulamuti Sub County through piloting innovative approaches of empowering girls and the community.
1. To contribute to the understanding of the causes and impact of child marriage in Mbulamuti sub county in Kamuli district by 2015.
2. To ensure at least 75 % of girls from Mbulamuti and Kiswa primary education complete primary education by end of the project thus reducing high rates of primary school drop outs in the area.
3. To improve incomes of at least 100 families in Mbulamuti Sub county by 2015
4. To raise awareness about dangers of child marriage and reduce the number of girls married off before their 18th birthday
“Advocating for child rights in Uganda”