Rt. Rev. Amos Magezi, the Bishop of the Diocese of North West Ankole Diocese has decried the increasing rate of teenage pregnancies and high school dropouts of young girls which has a substantial impact on their future, making them more vulnerable to child marriage, poverty, exclusion and illness.
“Young mothers in Uganda risk poor maternal and child health, being isolated, attempting unsafe abortions, failure to continue with school, and poverty,” he said adding,
“There is a lot of stigma and shame that afflicts the families of the adolescent girls who fall pregnant. Patriarchal value of apportionment of blame, in many instances the mothers of the girls are blamed, criticized and ostracized for the girl’s pregnancy,”
Rev. Magezi made these remarks while presiding over the commemoration of World AIDS Day at Namirembe Diocese headquarters.
He said that gender-based violence especially violence against women and girls continues to be a problem that requires continued engagement to address as faith leaders and all key stakeholders.
“The 16 days of gender activism should offer us the opportunity as faith leaders to renew our commitment to ending violence against women and girls – whether it takes place at home, in schools, in the workplace, or in public.”
Bishop Magezi called upon faith leaders and people in positions of authority to play their role and ensure the perpetrators of GBV are brought to book, GBV laws are effectively implemented and GBV survivors support to access justice and reparations.
“As faith leaders, we need to concede that we are key stakeholders in responding to the health and social issues that affect our people and country by playing an influential role. I appeal to everyone to stay away from irresponsible sexual behaviors and lifestyles that expose their life to HIV/AIDS Virus. Always remember AIDS KILLS!” Bishop Magezi said.
Mrs. Rose Bingyi, the Namirembe Diocese the President of Mothers Union whose Diocese took lead in organizing this year’s main celebrations, reaffirmed the Union’s commitment to fighting against GBV in their communities.
“We are strongly committed as Mothers Union of Namirembe Diocese and the entire Province of the Church of Uganda to utilize our various God-given talents, spaces, and resources to fight against gender-based violence. We thank our partners that have given us financial support to go to radio stations, TVs, newspapers, and other spaces to speak up and condemn GBV.” Mrs. Bingyi said.
Ms. Irene Anena, the Church of Uganda’s Coordinator for gender and social justice called for optimum utilization of all available spaces to advocate for a conducive atmosphere for boys and men, women and girls to live.
“We need to continue utilizing our faith spaces by denouncing and breaking the culture of silence on impunity to gender-based violence, encouraging survivors to report GBV, providing counseling and support through our structures to survivors of GBV, and providing safe spaces for women and girls, men and boys, create awareness through the pulpit and work with men and boys as agents of change for sustainable gender equality.” Ms. Anena said.
She added, “Our theme for this year’s 16 days of Gender Activism should remind us that ending gender-based Violence is a collective responsibility that requires all stakeholders to build a critical mass in ensuring GBV survivors are supported.
The celebrations were marked as part of the activities to commemorate the 16 days of gender activism.
The event was graced by the Church of Uganda’s Director for Household and Community Transformation Rev Andrew Agaba, ACT Alliance Country coordinator Ms. Patricia Akullo, Finn Church Aid’s Eva Nagaba Kanshemeza, Mothers Union leaders among others.