Kampala, 15th February 2023 – Hon. Amongi Betty Ongom, the Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development, has urged for stronger involvement of cultural and religious leaders in the fight to eliminate child marriages and teenage pregnancies. During a meeting with the Danish Ambassador to Uganda, Her Excellence Signe Winding Albjerg, at the Ministry’s headquarters in Kampala, the Minister noted that the vices of child marriages and teenage pregnancies are being perpetuated under the guise of promoting cultural practices and norms in different regions of the country.
“We should prioritize sensitization by engaging cultural and religious leaders, leveraging their influence to support the campaign to end early marriages,” Amongi said.
The Ambassador disclosed that the Danish Embassy was developing the next Country Strategic Framework, which would include various activities following up on the Women, Adolescents and Youths (WAY) Programme.
The Minister praised the Embassy for its support of the Sauti 116 toll-free helpline, which receives reports of Violence against Children (VAC) and Gender-Based Violence (GBV). She encouraged the Embassy to provide more support to the helpline, which has received a high number of calls daily and has been well-received by the public. She stated that the call center’s effectiveness would add momentum to the fight against violence against children and gender-based violence.
Amongi also emphasized the importance of women’s economic empowerment in the fight to end GBV, child marriages, and pregnancies. “Poverty exacerbates vulnerability. As most families opt for negotiated settlements out of GBV and violence against children cases for economic gain, it is critical to have economic empowerment interventions,” she observed.
Ambassador Signe promised that the next Country Strategic Framework would take a gender perspective to ensure that key aspects, such as awareness creation of Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights and linkages to service providers, speak to each other.
The meeting was attended by Assistant Commissioner Gender and Women Affairs, Maggie Kyomukama, as well as Senior Programme Advisor-Governance at the Embassy, Charles Magala, among others.