Uganda Women Concern Ministry (UWCM) in Partnership with UN Women Fund for Gender Equality (UN WOMEN FGE) set out to support vulnerable adolescent girls in the Districts of Mbale, Abim in Karamoja and Kabale.
Background: The Adolescent Girls Multilevel Vulnerability Index (AGI) was developed based on a growing recognition of the need to channel resources to a vital, yet highly vulnerable and vastly under-served, population of adolescent girls in Uganda specifically, and the east and southern Africa in general.
As outlined in The State of the World’s Children 2011, adolescence is a critical phase of human development during which the stage is set for later life. Adolescents (10-19 years old) experience rapid social, physical and emotional changes.
However, appropriate support structures and skills can lead to increased independence and the development of positive and healthy behavior with significant implications on society as a whole.
Adolescents constitute a substantial proportion of developing countries’ population. Little is done to alleviate the plight of the adolescent girls making them prone to vulnerability. According to, “the Adolescent Girls Vulnerability Index 2013” by the Population Council and the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development and UNICEF, findings, Karamoja has the highest percentages of vulnerable girls at individual (91.9%); household (57.0%) and community level (100%). In eastern Uganda, three out of four adolescent girls (74.9%) face vulnerability in both household and community levels which places this region as one of the most significant regions with regards to the vulnerability of adolescent girls.
Why adolescent girls?
While all adolescents –both boys and girls –are entitled to decent livelihoods, girls face disproportionate risks and distinctive consequences from the vulnerabilities experienced. Girls also play a crucial role in breaking the inter-generational cycle of poverty and driving a country’s development forward. There is clear and compelling evidence that investment in girls has broader and positive impacts.
Hairdressing training for adolescent girls.
For girls living in both eastern and northern Uganda, early marriage is common.Illiteracy is also the dominating factor in eastern Uganda and in Karamoja where there is higher than average illiteracy levels amongst women aged 20-49 years. The HIV indicator captures vulnerability among girls living both in communities with a high prevalence of HIV and with limited knowledge .
A very happy teenage mother at her vocational training graduation ceremony
I am Ayoo Paska,20 years old and a trainee of St. Comboni learning Center of Koya Parish, Alerek Sub County.With support from UN Women through ADP, I am runningmy own business at the trading centre of Koya to support me and my family members. I am now able to save 15,000 UGS weekly.
I also thank ADP for providing me with the tailoring machine.
My name is Acheng Monica and I am 19 years old from God’s Will Center in Alerek. I am a trainee in bakery and catering and I am married and have two girl children whom I want to support highly in their education through my own business. I can now provide food for my family and pay school fees for my siblings. I want to appreciate ADP for providing me with the business skills.
In Drucilla Balaba project in Kabale, three groups graduated in vocational training with skills in tailoring, crafts and weaving. Sharon is one of the beneficiaries in the tailoring class. She is 17 years old from Kabale Township. Sharon got pregnant when she was 16 and in senior two. The man denied responsibility for the pregnancy and she was rejected by her parents and demeaned by the community.
In 2013 Drucilla Balaba project in Kabale selected her as a beneficiary of the UN Women FGE project and Sharon opted for the tailoring project. After one and half years she testifies of the restored hope in life.
Currently Sharon is able to sew school uniforms for local schools and ladies dresses through which she earns a living. She has been accepted by her family, she is now valued by the community and she is glad that she can also make a uniform for her son who is going to nursery school.
The project initiated community structures (Dialogue Support Teams) through which the family and community members are sensitized on the need to have positive attitudes towards adolescent girls who get pregnant, and this has caused a huge, significant change of attitude towards them.