Ataro Juliet Olal and Akoko Doris – Lifeskills Training
Due to the long history of poverty and lack of education, many adolescent girls in poor and rural communities expose themselves to a range of risks, including drug and alcohol use, sexually transmitted infections, gender based violence, school dropout, teenage pregnancy, and child marriage. According to UNFPA, Uganda indicates that the percentage of women aged 20-24 who gave birth before the age of 18 is at 33.0%, with a 21.5% completing secondary education. This is higher among women who live in rural areas compared to ones from urban areas as the adolescent girls are more vulnerable compared to their male counterparts.
Our group aims to solve the problem of teenage pregnancy, which is very common in Kitgum District, by providing life skills training for the girls and providing practical hands on training that will engage them while learning and earning. By so doing, we hope to support the girls acquire skills to help them earn a living but also to make informed decisions about their lives. They will be able to live with dignity and to have hope. Life skills decision making, confidence self esteem and self reliance.
The girls will enroll at the center and they will attend according to schedules developed by the trainers. They will be trained on how to make bags, tailoring, making of sanitary towels, and baking among other skills. Each of the girls is expected to pay a small fee of 20,000 shillings per semester – 5,000 shillings for those who can only come during the holidays. Each of the girls and boys will benefit a percent out of their finished products that will be sold.
I was inspired to start this initiative because am a single mother and I was abandoned by the father of my children. I feel for other girls who are like me, who have children and yet have no means of earning decent earnings or income. I feel this opportunity will support girls who are like me. I have been mentoring and listening to their stories and this has inspired me to start this project. I have noticed that many times when a girl gets pregnant she is abandoned with her child or children and many of them have untold pains. I feel their pain and I think I have a role to play to reduce the pain. They have become vulnerable to other social and health issues because they want to survive. I want to play a role with my colleagues to address this problem in my community. Hope keeps me going but I know that we also have to start. I also feel happy when I hear success stories of girls; this keeps me powerful and hopeful.
The seed grant from TPP is important because these category of girls described in this project are trying their level best to survive and to look after their children. Many studies have shown how many of the responsibilities at home is being handled by women including child care and rearing. This project therefore will greatly contribute to reducing poverty among women and girls, reduce their vulnerability to sexual exploitation and reduce incidences of pregnancies among women and girls and reduce possibilities of having children on the streets because their parents will have ability to care for their needs.