Kooki Chiefdom has rolled out a campaign aimed at protecting the girl child and stopping child marriages in Rakai district. The Kooki Cultural leader Kamuswaaga Apollo Sansa Kabumbuli II (picturedd above) flagged off the campaign dubbed “Protecting the girl child and ending child marriage is my responsibility” at the Royal park gardens on Thursday.
The campaign stems from the increasing cases of child pregnancies, defilement, school dropout and child neglect in Kooki. According to the Kamuswaga, the problem escalated because of the nationwide lockdown resulting from the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, which kept children out of school.
He emphasized the need to protect children from all forms of abuse to secure the future of Kooki. The Kamuswaga further noted that they are struggling to take care of babies while some choose to dump them in pit latrines, bushes, forests and dust bins.
Al-Haji Idi Ahmed Kiwanuka, the Kooki Prime Minister, says that they are strengthening the year’s theme to enhance child protection. Kiwanuka argues that girls who are protected and educated have a better chance to have a brighter future compared to those married off early.
Godfrey Kimbugwe, the Kooki Deputy Prime Minister, says that they do not want to bury their heads under the sand with such problems affecting children at hand.
“Many children conceived and gave birth in the lockdown, according to reports from the district probation department,” Kimbugwe said.
He says that through the Bwowe Children’s fund, the institution will help disadvantaged children to go to school.
Joseph Ssendagi, the Rakai District Probation and Social Welfare Officer, confirmed registering more than 320 cases of child pregnancies in Rakai during the lockdown. He says that more awareness campaigns are needed to sensitise the communities about the dangers of marrying off young girls and how to rehabilitate them once they get pregnant.
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