MOYO. Miss Uganda foundation in partnership with United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) has embarked on sensitizing secondary school students in Moyo district on sexual and reproduction health rights.

The campaign follows increased cases of teenage pregnancies, early marriages, and school dropouts as a result of sexual and reproductive health issues.

While addressing district leaders on Friday at the district headquarters, UNFPA program coordinator Ms Martha Songa said 22% of adolescents age 13-18 in the country have left school due to various reasons among others; sexual reproductive health-related challenges.

She noted that “live your dream” campaign which is being powered by UNFPA and miss Uganda is aimed at ensuring that all school-age going children go to school, remain in school and finish their education to stand on their own and make better leaderships in the communities.

Songa appealed to parents and other stakeholders to protect young people from gender-based violence, early pregnancies, and marriages.

Former Miss Uganda 2012 Ms Phiona Bizzu said there is information gap pertaining to sexual and reproductive health education. She said sometimes the information given to adolescents does not hold water as different pieces of information on the same subject matter is given.

Ms Phiona Bizzu 17 08 19Ms Phiona Bizzu, Miss Uganda 2012 speaks during the meeting.

She added that some homes become hostile to the extent the young girls’ fears to open up on their sexual reproductive health challenges to their parents and in turn, they end up being misled by their friends.

Ms Leah Kagasa, Miss Uganda 2016 weighed in saying some of the young girls have been lured into sex by their own teachers in other schools which affects their performance and deters their dreams of becoming responsible persons in future.

She said research has shown that girls from the age of 13 are sexually active but they lack the right information to protect themselves from being exploited and abused.

“Young girls need a lot of guidance and protection from the parents and other community members for them to chase their dreams”, Kagasa said.

Deputy executive director of Miss Uganda foundation Mr Kevin Zziwa attributed the information gap on sexual reproductive health on lack of senior male and female teachers who are supposed to help the adolescents on a daily basis.

Zziwa warned against the use of some discouraging wards by some teachers and parents against the adolescents instead of encouraging them.

Senior Education officer Moyo district Ms Eyiya Palma noted the inexistence of the senior male and female teachers in schools but said a number of teachers have trained to manage gender-based violence at the school level.

She blamed the high rate of early marriages, teenage pregnancy and high school dropout on poor parenting.

Ms Elizabeth Adong, the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Moyo called for the formation of a pressure group to protect the adolescents in schools similar to what was formed to protect Zoka forest.