As the world marked the International Women’s Day, Veronica, a 14-year-old teen mother living in Mpala, near Abaita Ababiri in Wakiso district, explained the pain of poverty, her inability to provide for child remains her biggest fight.
Veronica who interacted with Eunice Amon, FMP’s Programmes Coordinator during the event in which FMP celebrated the IWD jointly with our partner Resilient Women’s organization, under the theme “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.” The event was purposed to enhance the realization of gender equality in society for sustainable development. The event had a goal of enabling women to realize their full potential to overcome gender based violence and cultural norms that affect women.
Veronica remains worried she may soon become pregnant, as she has no ability to protect herself or negotiate for safe sex. Whereas the legal age of consent in Uganda is 18 years, national statistics show that teen motherhood is a public health disaster wreaking havoc to lives of many teenagers with 25% each year becoming pregnant. Limited access to accurate sexual and reproductive health information, societal impendeminets on women’s freedom to choice, myths and misconceptions about family planning and traditional values against modern contraceptives are drivers of this scourge. Family Medical Point’s interventions in schools and hard to reach communities including fishing communities target to address these bottlenecks and break the cycle of repeat teen motherhood.
Eunice counseled Veronica and referred her to FMP medical center for further support. Veronica represents or is held back by several factors from accessing family planning and turning around to be able to choose when to have a baby. During the event, one hundred twenty seven parents, teenage mothers and adolescent girls from different parts of Wakiso were mentored.
The half-day event was opened with welcoming remarks from Miss Ngadire Hope, the CEO of Resilient Women’s Organization, who encouraged the women to ‘keep lighting their candles’ amidst hardships. She also requested young women to support fellow women and young girls living within their communities yet are faced with gender based violence, poverty and unfair social norms.
Eunice educated the women on the gender equality opportunities that women should exploit to sustain their livelihood. She significantly shared sustainability mechanisms and requested women to share their financial sustainability strategies. .
The celebrations were concluded with entertainment from the Kitala mentor parents group who acted a drama kit on financial sustainability as the teenage mothers danced to songs that promoted the power of a woman, her value to society and the importance of unity in promotion of gender equality.