KATAKWI: NGOs shift focus to sensitize teenagers on sexual reproductive health

Florence Achan, a 16-year-old P.7 student of Ngariam primary school, challenged the government to a bid by her promises of providing sanitary pads to every girl at school.

Learners pose for a group photo with their sanitary towels received after the mentorship session (Photo/Courtesy)

KATAKWI, UGANDA: Non-governmental organisations in Katakwi District have turned their guns to mentor and sensitise teenagers on sexual reproductive health.

Katakwi Ray Of Hope, a non-governmental organisation operating in Katakwi District with support from ActionAid International Uganda, is currently mentoring young adults at school on menstrual hygiene management which is believed to be one of the major causes of girl child school dropouts in the district.

Barbra Amuge, HIV and gender officer at Katakwi Ray of Hope, a non-governmental organisation, told DailyExpress that for the time she has spent working in the and interacting with young girls, she has realised that, most of the girls drop out of school due to lack of necessities like sanitary pads, underwears, scholastic materials among others.

Amuge said that this is their first quarter to carry out their activities and that “after mentoring and sensitising the young girls and boys, we support them with sanitary pads to keep them at school.”

Barbra Amuge, HIV and gender officer at Ray of Hope speaking to DailyExpress

Meanwhile, Ms Betty Ilemukorit, the senior woman teacher at Ngariam Primary School in Palam sub county decried of low support to girls from schools since many of them wait for the quarterly releases of Universal Primary Education (UPE) which in most cases don’t come in time.

This has caused girls from different schools in Katakwi to be forced into early pregnancies, marriages, and even death since they still don’t have knowledge on how to keep healthy pregnancies, Ilemukorit added.

Another senior woman teacher who DailyExpress spoke to, Agnes Kebesi from Olupe primary school in the same sub-county confessed that over 200 girls in her school have dropped out due to lack of necessities mostly sanitary pads.

Kebesi told this website that, the sub-counties of Palam, Ngariam, Magoro, and Guyaguya are majorly affected with a high number of girls dropping from school due to the availability of men in uniform, boda bodas and young chapati vendors who lure them into sexual abuse so that they gain necessities like scholastic materials, underwears and sanitary pads from them.

Betty Angiro, the Katakwi district senior probation officer revealed how last month, a 17-year-old teenager lost her life and child to delayed labour pain. She added that young adults in Katakwi District have offered themselves to early sex so that they gain since their parents have failed to offer necessities to them.

Some of the learners at Olupe Primary School in Ngariam Subcounty, Katakwi District in a mentorship session

Florence Achan, a 16-year-old P.7 student of Ngariam primary school, challenged the government to a bid by her promises of providing sanitary pads to every girl at school.

Achan added that most of her friends have left school, and some have contracted HIV because their parents can’t avail them with the small things they want which is a threat to girlchild in the district.

She, however, thanked the Organisation for supporting them with sanitary pads and mentoring them on how to manage hygiene while in their menstrual hours which has been a challenge to most girls since their parents don’t prepare them for that time.

However, the LCIII chairperson of Palam sub-county, Martin Egwarat challenged Ray of Hope to always continue supporting the young girls with information on sexual reproductive health since they have started.

He noted that his subcounty is at the peak to follow up with the girls that dropped out of school, and if any are married, they will charge both parents and groom.

Barbra Amuge, however, said the organisation will in July start skilling young girls and boys in the six sub-counties of Palam, Ngariam, Omodoi, Toroma, Magoro and Kapujan on how to make reusable sanitary towels since the sanitary pads they are supporting girls with are only used once which she says is expensive to a rural girl.

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