Accelerated Education is an opportunity to address Child Marriage, City Education Officer reveals

todayJanuary 18, 2023

By Sabir Musa

As different stakeholders continue generating ideas to address the high cases of child marriage and teenage pregnancy in West Nile, Arua City Education officer, Raymond Ombere notes that introducing accelerated Education programs can be a better option “to reduce the problem”. These vices according to stakeholders are result of poor parenting, weak justice system, cultural practices and poverty. Many of the girls affected are school going-age children and likely dropout without second chance in education after conceiving.

The City Education Officer, Raymond Ombere reveals that, accelerated education programs could contribute greatly in preventing the vices as learners “who are overgrown in primary schools are selected and help them to quickly transit beyond primary” in a move to address child marriage and teenage pregnancy and also ensure that they complete major education levels. The Head of Strategy and Partnership at Amani Initiative, Nixon Ocatre challenge community to take keep interest in reporting and following up cases on child marriage and teenage pregnancy as a move in ending the vices. “The community first of all is a very key gate keeper in protecting people and also identifying these cases because most time they are not reported” Ocatre says.  “So if the community is involved, we have higher opportunity of creating a safe space whereby every one of us is directly involved in ending child marriage and teenage pregnancy” he adds.  

A joint report by Uganda Democratic Household Survey and UNICEF in 2020 revealed that, 1 out of every 4 Ugandan women aged between 15 and 19 have given birth or are pregnant with their first child by the age of 18. The Leader of Femme Talk West Nile, Patience Poni challenge civil society organizations to play key role as a contribution towards addressing the vices.  “There are some men and women who are not integrity of purely keep to the aspect of positive change, they are just there may be to make money in civil society but do not want to fight the vice. And indeed the number should not be our main point of projection but the people who are involved (young people); is education funny enough for them, are we looking for options and is the conversation something common in West Nile?” 
34 percent of women aged 25 and 49 are married before the age of 18 and 7.3 percent before the age of 15, according to Uganda Democratic Household Survey and UNICEF.

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