At least 40 girls from three Sub Counties of Iganga district, namely Nabitende, Makutu and Buyanga, are reported to have in the last 18 months quit school for early marriages.
According to a report compiled by the Uganda Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), the latest 10 cases have been registered in the last 6 months while the 30 were registered in 2013.
The Legal Officer of FIDA Iganga Branch, Ms Lydia Kambedha, said that most of the girls who got married are between the ages of 15 and 16. The majority of them were in primary schools in the three Sub Counties.
According to findings of the organization’s investigations, most of the girls were forcibly married off by their poverty stricken parents and guardians after getting token amounts of money and gifts in the form of domestic necessities like sugar, salt and soap.
The report however notes that some of the girls opted for marriage in order to escape harsh treatment by their guardians.
“We started carrying out the survey after discovering that a majority of girls were not completing primary seven. It is absurd to see that some girls were married off by their parents for material gains,” she said.
Ms Kambedha said that the organization has so far convinced five of the girls who have since given birth to return to school. Among the five is a 15 year old girl who gave birth in February, who has since been provided with school fees and enlisted in Iganga Demonstration School.
Iganga District Inspector of School, Ms Lydia Itaaga, told Daily Monitor that 41 percent of the girl children in the district did not complete their Primary Education last year and it is suspected that some of them were married off.