UGANDA: “ANYIM WA CAKE KI AN”-A YOUTH-LED INITIATIVE SUPPORTS A HEALTHY GIRL-CHILD STAY IN SCHOOL

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LoP, Ms. Aol Ocan (Second left), Mr & Ms.  Langoya (M) and Andrew Ono Langoya, launching the marathon to support the girl-child stay in school.

“I want to join Makerere University this year and train to become a software developer. The training will help me inspire the girl-child so that when they start school as infants, they should continue with education until they reach the highest level up to university. I developed the heart of supporting the girl-child at a tender age and I plan to start a not-for-profit organization to be called “She for She”to realize my dream”

“We realized that the reasons why girls drop out of school in northern Uganda are their monthly menstruations and teen-age pregnancies. We think if extra awareness is given to the girls, we provide them with re-usable sanitary pads, teach them how to make it themselves, teach them the importance of protecting the environment and teach them good nutrition practice, then they will be empowered and it will reduce on drop out”

GULU-UGANDA:Nineteen-year old Ms. Atwiine Sabrina hails all the way from Kabale district in South-Western Uganda. On Saturday, July 13, 2019 she was declared the first runner-up of a five-kilometer marathon race organized by “Anyim Wa Cake Ki An” (Our Future Starts With Me), a local NGO initiated by a youth, Master Andrew Ono Langoya (25), to supports the girl-child stay in school. She won in the girls’ category while Mr. Okello Richard Ochii, a Uganda Wild Life (UWA) game ranger, won the ten-kilometer race in the men’s category. The chief runner was the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in parliament, Ms. Betty Aol Ocan. The marathon took place within Gulu Municipality in Northern Uganda, which is hundreds of kilometers away from Ms. Atwiine’s birth place.

She came to Gulu as a senior six student on vacation and has now scooped vocational employment doing training in the technology job market with Oysters & Pearls-Uganda, an educational technology company based in Gulu, northern Uganda. She learnt of the race through radio announcements and immediately developed interest to participate.

“I want to join Makerere University this year and train to become a software developer The training will help me inspire the girl-child so that when they start school as infants, they should continue with education until they reach the highest level up to university education. I developed the heart of supporting the girl-child at a tender age and I plan to start a not-for-profit organization to be called “She for She” to realize my dream”, she says, shortly after receiving her gold medal for the victory.

Dropout rate from schools for girls in neighboring Omoro district stands at 30 percent of girls who join primary schools and never go beyond primary seven. The leading causes are teen-age pregnancies, early marriages and their monthly periods. Girls in Uganda spend about UGX 3600 (1 US$) per month on sanitary pads and this is unaffordable to primary school girls.

The organization also organized a medical camp at Gulu University play ground to screen for cervical cancer, HIV testing and counseling, hepatitis B and family planning.

The marathon was organized by “Anyim Wa Cake Ki An” to draw awareness on the plight of the girl-child in the age bracket of nine and sixteen years so that they do not drop out of schools because of menstruations or teen-age pregnancies, through awareness and provision of re-usable sanitary pads to five hundred girls selected from ten primary schools in Gulu district. The project also distributed three hundred tree seedlings to the girls who were taught how to plant and maintain the seedlings in their schools as a measure to protect the environment.

“We realized that the reasons why girls drop out of school in northern Uganda are their monthly menstruations and teen-age pregnancies. We think if extra awareness is given to the girls, we provide them with re-usable sanitary pads, teach them how to make it themselves, teach them the importance of protecting the environment and teach them good nutrition practice, then they will be empowered and it will reduce on drop outs”, says Master Ono Langoya.

Speaking before flagging off, the marathon run, Ms. Aol Ocan urged the organization to go beyond supporting the girl child only but to look at the possibility of removing the hundreds of vulnerable children who live on the streets of Gulu who are commonly called “Aguu”.

“You should go beyond looking at the girl child only but look at the problems faced by the boys who are out of school and are on the streets as well. What else can we do together to reclaim them from the streets? We need to see those boys and girls back to school”, she advises.

She appealed to youths to always remain committed in relationships with their spouses instead of jumping here and there so as to raise peaceful families.

“Educating your children does not start in school but at home. You should commit yourselves to your spouses without jumping here and there. How many children do you want to have? My advocacy is that; let us try to have peaceful families. In that way you will have healthy babies and we would not be struggling to keep girls in school”. She says, before donating one million Uganda shillings (About US$ 280) to the new organization to enable them realize their dreams.

One of the Directors of the business that supported the organization with money to organize the marathon, Ms. Jane Langoya, said the concept of coming up with the group came from their son, Master Ono Langoya, who realized that there are less fortunate youths out there who have not had the opportunity to go far with education and are struggling with life.

“The children have organized these themselves after realizing that there are youths out there who were less privileged to get the opportunity to get the kind of education they got. They said: ‘we are where we are and why can’t we help the girl out there?’ It is up to them to bring up the community on themselves. Our future starts with me”, she says.

 

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