KIRUHURA, UGANDA: The Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Hon Betty Amongi Ongom has called on leaders to work with the government in a combined effort to fight against child marriages.
The minister made the remarks on Saturday, April 29, 2023, during the Okuhingira ceremony of Col James Nkojo and his wife Deborah in Kiruhura District.
The Minister commended the couple for boldly legalising their marriage through the traditional ceremony and emphasized the importance of preserving African culture, which she believes is a cornerstone of Uganda’s national identity and a means of ensuring the country’s survival in the global community.
Amongi advised the community to emulate the couple who got married at the age of consent and appealed to leaders to join government to end child marriage.
The minister’s comments come at a time when child marriage is a significant issue in Uganda, with many young girls being forced into marriage before they reach the legal age.
Uganda remains one of the countries with the highest prevalence rate of child marriage and teenage pregnancy. The rise in teenage pregnancies, child marriages and ultimately the number of adolescent mothers has been widely reported by all stakeholders and witnessed in communities.
In some places, married girls are legally prohibited from attending School, while in many others social norms and new family responsibilities force them to end their schooling.
According to UNICEF, the current statistics indicate that 34 percent of children are married before the age of 18 and 7.3 percent before the age of 15 and an average of 1,000 teenage pregnancies being reported per day (Ministry of Health).
Do you have a story or an opinion to share? Email us on: firstname.lastname@example.org Or join the Daily Express WhatsApp channel for all the latest news and trends or join the Telegram Channel for the latest updates.