Play your roles in ending child marriages, govt tells parents

State minister for youth and children affairs Sarah Mateke Nyirabashitsi (pink dress) poses for a photo with other delegates during the 2023 national symposium on ending child marriage in Kampala on November 28, 2023. PHOTO/DOROTHY NAGITTA

Government has urged parents to strengthen their nurturing skills to end child marriages and early pregnancies in the country.

The 2022 Uganda Demographic and Health survey (UDHS) statistics reveals that Uganda only reduced child marriage and teenage pregnancy by 1 per cent from 25 per cent since 2016.

State minister for youth and children affairs Sarah Mateke Nyirabashitsi believes there is a need to empower families to address the crisis.

“We may talk and put in more funding but if we have not strengthened our families especially the skills of parenting, we may not go very far,” she remarked during the 2023 national symposium on ending child marriage on November 28 in Kampala.

She further called on parents to create time for their children as opposed to neglecting their core parental duties.

“It should also be a responsibility of everyone to take care of the child you meet along the way. If they are in the wrong place, please guide them because the more we neglect them, the more problems we shall have in the future,” she observed.

Still on Tuesday, Uganda’s gender ministry said there’s need for assessing government approaches in the fight against child marriages and rampant teenage pregnancies.

 “We need to play our roles and reflect on our performance in different structures of the government for accountability,” said gender ministry principal officer Annet Kabarungi.

But Action Aid Uganda country director Xavier Ejoyi held that: “Some Societies have failed to recognize children as children; they rather look at them as potential spouses and mothers. Therefore, we need to change the norms that position children as sexual partners and mothers,”

He also longed for affordable and accessible education to girls.

“Uganda is a patriotic society which glorifies the position of men in societies and sometime that position is not used well because teenage pregnancy and child marriage are caused by men. It is important for all men out there to make a resolve that they are not going to allow child marriages in their communities and homes,” he added.