Busoga teenage mothers seek inclusion in government funding

Teenage mothers receive their certificates during a graduation ceremony at Teenage Mothers and Child Support Foundation in Butagawa Village, Lumuli Sub-county, Jinja District in May 2024. PHOTO COURTESY 

What you need to know:

  • If the government considers teenage mothers in its programmes, it will improve their livelihood and enable them return to school.

Teenage mothers in Busoga Sub-region want their enterprising ideas funded y government programmes, including Emyooga and the Parish Development Model (PDM).

The government has set up several programmes with the main goal of eradicating poverty and increasing household incomes.

The teenage mothers from Kibibi Village, Budondo Sub-county, Jinja City, and Butagaya Sub-county, Namagera Town Council in Jinja District, say they do not have national identity cards, a major requirement for citizens to access and  benefit from government programmes. 

They want the government to give them special consideration to enable them access such funds and set up self-sustaining businesses.

Joyce, not real name because she is a minor, is a mother of one. She says ever since she got pregnant at an early age, she has endured several challenges including alleged failure by her parents to provide for her like they used to.

“I stay at my parents’ home with my child. But I am always abused by my peers and sometimes by my parents who say I should go and stay with the father of the child,” she said on June 15.

However, Joyce is reluctant to stay with the father of her child because he allegedly neglected his parental responsibilities.

She said if the government considers teenage mothers in its programmes, it will improve their livelihood and enable them return to school.

Another 17 year old teenage mother says he she got pregnant aged 16 years while still studying. She adds that it has been difficult to cope with life, especially after dropping out of school.

She says “When one gets pregnant at a young age, she loses her self-esteem.” She stays with her child at her parents’ home.

She  believes that after acquiring hair-dressing skills from a teenage mothers and child support foundation, she could start her own salon. But she lacks capital, the reason she wants to be considered for government programmes.

“That money can facilitate our skills," she says.

Ms Mariam Nansubuga, 18, a resident of Bwenene Village, Butagaya Sub-county, said she got pregnant at 16 years and dropped out of school in Senior Two.

Although she stays with her parents who still consider her a child, she feels an onerous burden of looking after her child.

“If I can benefit from the government programmes, I will be able to raise capital for starting a salon and also boost the urban farming skills I acquired from the Teenage Mothers and Child Support Foundation (TMCS).

The Executive Director of the Foundation, Mr Josh Mayanja, says he has been an advocate for teenage mothers to learn skills that can change their lives overtime but those trained lack access to government support in funded programmes.

He says those considered “adults” are the ones benefiting, yet teenage mothers are still referred to as children.

“Teenage mothers between the age of 13 and 15 years are required to purchase needs for themselves, becuase the government considers an adult to be above 18 years,” says Mr Mayanja.

“I appeal to the government to make it much easier for them [teenage mothers] to benefit because they have got the necessary skills but lack capital to start something,” Mr Mayanja said, adding that in Wakiso District, such (young) girls are lured into “bad behaviour” by families who hire them as house helps.

Additional reporting by Philip Wafula