A section of teenage girls have decreed what they called continuous violence being inflicted against young girls because of their sex and society’s gender roles.
Those who gathered at the grand final of the Adolescent Girls’ Voices Poetry and Storytelling Competition (AGVPS) organized by the Public Health Ambassadors Uganda (PHAU) wondered why the society has continued to demean a girl child despite all signs that they can do better than their male counterparts.
The (AGVPS) is an open space for adolescent girls and young women creative writers aged (10 – 21 years) majoring in poetry and storytelling, where they join an adolescent girls-focused Generation Equality call to action movement that addresses all socio-economic forms of inequalities among Ugandan adolescent girls.
The competition was organised by Public Health Ambassadors Uganda (PHAU), with funding from Commonwealth.
These do this by submitting a winning Poem or story to the AGVPS Competition Jury set up by PHAU and its partners in commemoration of the International Day of the Girl Child 2022.
In all the 10 top poems that made it to the final, teens highlighted some of the top grievances that are being inflicted on their colleagues in society, and these included; teenage pregnancies, early marriages, Female Genital Mutilation, and forced school dropouts among others.
First on the stage in a colorful function held at Golf Course Hotel in Kampala on Saturday, was Shamsa Kaweesi, a student of Kinawa High School.
Kaweesi presented a poem titled; Equality for a Girl Child. In her tearful mood, covered self with newspapers, Kaweesi in the poem wondered why are all the problems and bad deeds being inflicted on girls.
Kaweesi was followed by a one Maseri whose poem was who is a girl child, she sang the Uganda National Anthem while punching holes in how the society has done the opposite of the same when it comes to implementation, especially in favor of girls.
Maria Noel presented a poem dubbed: I Speak for My Destiny. In this poem, Noel said that the world has continuously bluntantly thought that teenagers (girls) are stupid and immature, yet they are the solutions for tomorrow’s problems.
“We are not helpless teenage girls, but the medicine for tomorrow’s problems.
Amanda Ofembi, also a student at Kinawa high school presented a poem dubbed grotesque Ritual that robs Girls of their Childhood. where she highlighted some of the problems faced by teenage girls leaving in poverty in slum areas before one Shounie Kismat appeared with a poem; the girl in emotion where she was highlighting the story of a girl who left school and her parent’s love for a boyfriend who impregnated her and ruined her future.
Others who presented were; God’s Mercy Nabukenya, Alice Namalie who presented the poem dubbed why society should end teenage pregnancies, Tracy Sekanabo with a Message to my Girl, Faith Rebecca with Chronicles of Woman’s Existence, Lorette Tumusiime, and Mase Nyarwoth.
The 2nd edition of AGVPS was held under the theme: “My Voice amplified, our equal future Secured”
The competition was won by Alyce Namale of the Poem dubbed Why society should end teenage pregnancies, the first runner’s up was Kismat Shounie with a Grill in Emotion, second Runner’s Up was Tracy Sekanabo with A message to my Girl Child while Amanda Ofembi presented the poem dubbed Grotesque Ritual that robs Girls of their Childhood won the Viewers Choice Awards.
Namale scooped Shs700,000, followed by Kismat with Shs500,000, Sekanabo with Shs300,000 while Ofembi took home Shs200,000 after the competition.
Speaking to DaParrot, Lillibet Namakula the Team Leader and co-founder of PHAU said that the competition is timely as the world joins the rest of the world to mark the 16 days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.
“As PHAU, we are offering a platform to these young girls to express their challenges affecting them and their colleagues outside their, before even thinking about the big statistics, we wanted to hear from these teens on what is affecting them,” she said
“We understand that girls have the voice but they don’t have the vacuum to out them so it’s our role as PHAU who have that platform to help them to do so also they cannot reach relevant stakeholders so in a competition like these we use them to collect grievances which we use in our advocacy,” she said.
The major objective of this competition, she said is to address all forms of socio-economic inequalities among Ugandan adolescent girls and young women aged (10-21 years) by amplifying their voices and rights through a creative writing competition.
“We want to use edutainment and informative approach to offer young people platform where they can express their grievances and as well find solutions,” she said