President Yoweri Museveni has said that the two major causes of teenage pregnancies are bad cultural practices and poverty adding that there is need to define the challenges properly.
“The problem of teenage pregnancies is from two sources. The first one is the bad culture that is based on wrong biology. We know that a mature person should be 18 years of age and above, it is therefore wrong to engage in practices that lead to pregnancy when one has not attained the right age. The second one is that of poverty. Some of the families become vulnerable due to poverty and marry off girls at a young age".
The President made the remarks during the fundraising and launching of the Quiin Abenakyo Foundation whose target is to raise Shs.1 billion to fight against child marriages and teenage pregnancies.
The President pledged Shs.100 million to the organization whose brainchild is Miss World Africa, Quiin Abenakyo. Parliamentary Speaker, the Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga is the patron of the Foundation.
During the fundraising, President Museveni, who bought a portrait of a child at Shs. 20 million, said that the fundamental solution to the challenges posed by teenage pregnancies is the Universal Primary and Secondary Education programmes, the two programs have played a leading role in keeping children in schools.
He, therefore, called for support towards Government efforts to further promote the education of children in Uganda. He used the occasion to once again appeal to some educationists who levy illegal fees which raise the cost of education leading to children dropping out of school, to stop that habit forthwith. He also blamed the elite officials in the Parents-Teachers Associations (PTA) for the introduction of illegal fees.
He revealed that the enrolment of Primary School pupils in the country is currently at 8.8 million while 1.6 million only are enrolled in Secondary Schools. He tasked parents to join the war to stop the elite PTAs from levying illegal fees adding that this was the first danger to the children.
“Free education must be free. The moment one introduces charges, he undermines free education that has been promoted by the NRM Government,” he stressed.
President Museveni tasked the youth who are fighting teenage pregnancies to advocate for sensitization and solutions to the causes. He also advised parents to pack lunch for their school-going children as part of efforts to maintain the children in schools. He directed Resident District Administrators to sensitize wananchi over these pertinent issues through FM radios.
Parliamentary Speaker, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, saluted President Museveni for supporting Quiin Abenakyo in the fight against child marriages and teenage pregnancies.
Dokolo District Member of Parliament Hon. Cecilia Ogwal commended Ms. Abenakyo for the positive role she has played in society.
The Nabagereka of Buganda, Her Royal Highness, Naginda Luswata, expressed admiration for Ms. Abenakyo for her strong stand in the fight against teenage pregnancies. She noted that teenage pregnancies put the lives of girls in a vicious cycle of poverty. She called for a legal framework to be used to do away with the perpetrators of child pregnancies.
The UNICEF Country Representative, Dr. Doreen Mulenga, observed that over 40% of girls in Uganda marry before the age of 18 years.
2018 Miss World Africa, Quiin Abenakyo on her part, said that her Foundation targets covering all regions in Uganda within 5 years. She saluted President Museveni, the First Lady, Janet Museveni, Parliamentary Speaker Rebecca Kadaga and Nabagereka Naginda for their continued support.