Youth parliament urges government on Covid-19 teenage pregnancies

KAMPALA – The Youth Parliament sitting in Kampala has passed three critical motions urging the government on matters of youths in regards to Covid-19 effects, livelihood and social-economic empowerment.

The House that sat Friday in the Chambers of the August House urged the government to prioritize the issues that have grossly affected the youths during the Covid-19 pandemic including teenage pregnancies, girl-child education and social entrepreneurship for the young people.

The motion was moved by Ruth Namutebi, who noted that there are lots of reports indicating high teenage pregnancies due to the closure of schools and other social amenities like churches, and recreation centers, due to Covid-19.

“When we talk about Sexual Reproductive Health and Health Rights, it is important to note that 25% of girls become pregnant by age 19,” she noted.

Namutebi added that defilement and rape cases have tremendously increased with manipulation, cross generational sex, and commercial sex as girls look for money to buy sanitary towels and other needs.

Multiple reports by Civil Society Organizations (CSO) have indicated glaring figures of teenage pregnancies, sex abuse and domestic violence due to the Covid-19 lock down, with Busoga leading the charge in the country.

The Youth Parliament also called on the government to facilitate the formation of safe spaces where girls can access health services, but also freely talk about issues of rape, incest and others that are regarded obscene in the communities they live in.

Another representative, Allan Webare, expressed concern why the men who abuse the girls are let scot free.

“Why do we all focus on the girl and ignore the culprits? The government needs to put up stringent laws so that the men taking advantage of these girls are brought to book,” he demanded.

He also added that the authorities also need to work on the girls’ mind-set that have been corrupted by the social environment in the communities they live in. Many have conceded to the talk that they cannot return to school, especially that they are consumed into parenting challenges and health complications like fistula.

“The government should work out ways to address this with many girls suffering from depression and mental health break-down,” he added.

Other motions discussed included girl-child education and social entrepreneurship that all young people desire in times of not going to school.

The House urged the government to establish post-Covid19 recovery measures that will ensure economic transformation for the young people with elements like decent jobs, livelihood and employment opportunities that can all address the growing social-economic disparity between the age groups in the communities.

The House was chaired by Ezra Ambasize, as Speaker and Deputized by Halima Assina.

Addressing parliament, Speaker Jacob Oulanyah appealed to the youth leaders to always endeavor to stick to their focus in executing their duties. He said this would help guide them and produce diligent services.

“In whatever you do, never lose your focus of the interest of the people that sent you. When debating, avoid using statistics, but facts because then you will be speaking from your heart, and that is how we gain support,” Oulanyah said.

The female National Youth Representative in the 11th Parliament, Phiona Nyamutoro was present in the Youth Parliament.

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