If you aren’t fully aware, Uganda has one of the youngest ageing populations, as 77% of the population is under the age of 25- of which 25% are pregnant by the age of 19.
And the number of teen pregnancies continues to grow due to the pandemic.
As a result of Covid-19, schools were forced to close indefinitely in most parts of the country and for those living in rural communities, they were left with nothing to do due to lack of numerous resources. Compared to adolescents in urban areas who had access to the internet and the use of zoom to continue learning at home, they didn’t and still don’t have that opportunity.
Outcast Activists Forum wants to break that barrier and provide resources to young people on how to progress through life, avoiding pregnancy in their youth.
Why are the number of teen pregnancies so high?
Many people are only aware that lack of full time education is the only cause, but there are other numerous factors. As lack of education is the main reason, lack of social skills as well as low acceptance into society, sexual abuse, peer pressure, knowledge on contraceptive usage, pressure into marriage due to cultural indifference, poverty, drug use among male counterparts and and distance to commute to schools.
All these factors are very much a problem amongst young people in rural areas, and at OAF we plan on organising some sessions to talk to the youth in the Busoga Region of Uganda, as that is the area we plan on working on next. With the help of numerous volunteers as well as donors we hope to make it a success as well as make the young girls and boys understand we as a community care for their well-being and development into society.
Some things we as a society can do to try and help the leaders of the future is:
- creating teenage-friendly dedicated services at youth centres as well as schools.
- Design and implement community and family-based approaches to address adolescents and how peer pressure can have a negative impact on them as an individual.
- Identify and train adolescent peer- educators and counsellors for adolescent counselling on sexual and reproductive health issues at health facilities and in the communities.
∼ Shania Cooper
The writer is OAF’s International Volunteer