Amuru district education department has introduced peer clubs to keep pregnant girls and teenage mothers in school. The clubs, which will constitute pregnant girls, teenage mothers, and selected learners will be used to fight stigma, de-campaign teenage pregnancies, and sexual abuse as well as encourage survivors of sexual abuse to remain at school and complete their studies.
Apollo Okello, the Amuru District Education Secretary told URN that the clubs will be activated in all the 56 primary and secondary schools in the district. He says that the clubs will also include vulnerable categories and will be overseen by the school management committees (SMCs), Parent Teachers Associations (PTAs), and senior male and female teachers.
The new development follows the government’s decision to reopen schools on Monday.
Amuru has 56 government-aided schools with an enrolment of 41,163 learners as per the year 2020 before the closure. It is also reported that the district registered 3,200 teenage pregnancies and the victims are aged between 15 and 19 years.
Samuel Akera, a member of Keyo Primary School Parents Teachers Association (PTA), says that the drive will not only target female learners but their male counterparts as well. He notes that they are yet to document the exact number of pregnant and teenage mothers when the school reopens.
In Gulu district, the education department has tasked all headteachers to offer psycho-social support to pregnant girls and teenage mothers who will resume studies. Peace Namaseke, a pupil of Agwayugi Primary School in Lamogi Sub County has called for collective efforts in ensuring that the pregnant girls and teenage mothers complete their studies.
On Sunday, during the weekly mass Reverend Father Justine Erick Uma, the Parish Priest for Holy Rosary Church rallied parents and guardians to send their children back to school regardless of their statuses. At least 20,000 teenage girls were impregnated in Acholi Sub-region during the nearly two years COVID-19 lockdown period.