At least 440 teenage mothers, youths and women are set to benefit from Shs 560m empowerment project in Amuria, Katakwi, Serere and Dokolo districts.
The families in these districts have limited economic resources and opportunities. The average monthly household income in the targeted districts is below the poverty line of $1.77 (Shs 6,630) per person per day. The abject poverty is linked to food insecurity, counterfeit agricultural inputs, climatic changes and other hardships.
According to the District Health Information system, in 2021 the country recorded 31,565 pregnancies every month which translates into 1,052 pregnancies recorded daily, including 250 children aged below 15 years who got pregnant monthly.
According to the ministry of Health, teenage pregnancy is responsible for nearly one-fifth (18 per cent) of the annual births in Uganda. Teenage pregnancy contributes seven per cent of the population growth. Nearly half (46 per cent) of the births by teenagers were unwanted pregnancies.
It also contributes to 20 per cent of infant deaths in Uganda and, on the other hand contributes to 28 per cent of maternal deaths. The empowerment project is aimed at equipping youth with skills in environmental sustainability best practices and economic diversification practices and others for them to earn a decent living and contribute to the development of Uganda.
ChildFund in collaboration with Lango Child and Community Development Federation and the Partners for Children WorldWide, will train beneficiaries in vocational skills, climate-smart agriculture and agricultural business skills.
Moses Otai, the country director of ChildFund, said, “Our aim is to ensure that girls who got pregnant not because of the intent but because of the circumstances that they found themselves in, that they are supported in the most appropriate way.”
He said they have upped their response to adolescent pregnancies by elevating work around sexual reproductive health, enabling the girls to receive the information and services they need to keep themselves from becoming pregnant.
“I applaud the Coca-Cola foundation because they have been one of the responders and they have responded with a donation of $150,000 (Shs 560 million) for the next 18 months,” he said.
“The donation will go into investing in women and girls’ economic environment to ensure that they recover from the challenges that they are predisposed to, but also helps us in the path towards ensuring that there is equality that is being promoted,” he said.
“At the end of the project, we want each girl or mother reached to establish a business and to support her family. We anticipate that girls who will be reached through this project should be able to make a decision to go back to school and be better skilled with this assistance,” he said.