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Speaker vows to end FGM/C, promote girl child education

27 December 2017
Students of Tubomboi Secondary school are appealing for support to end FGM in their communities and keep them in school.PHOTO: UNFPA/Evelyn Matsamura Kiapi.

Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament Hon. Rebecca Kadaga has made a commitment to support education initiatives in Sabiny region so as to end FGM and early marriages and keep girls in school.  Hon. Kadaga was speaking as Guest of Honour at the 21st annual Sabiny cultural day in Tubomboi Sub County in Kapchorwa District on November 30, 2017.

While laying a foundation stone, the Speaker pledged to support the completion of Tubomboi, a secondary school started in 2014 by the community. The school is an initiative to save girls from walking long distances looking for secondary school education in Kapchorwa town.

 “I am going to make sure that completion of the school is achieved as quickly as possible so that the school children do not have to walk so many miles through the difficult terrains,” the Speaker said, adding that is to  meet with Kenya government to discuss ways of ending cross-border practice of FGM/C.

Speaking about women’s health, Hon. Kagada also committed to ensure the Tubomboi Health center II and others are upgraded to ensure mothers give birth in the health facilities to reduce the risk of being cut by Traditional Birth Attendants during delivery.

The Speaker also warned Traditional Birth Attendants from committing the Act, advising mothers to report perpetrators of FGM/C to the authorities as it is a crime under the Anti- FGM Act. 

“I will continue coming here and I will not stop until FGM has ended in the whole of Sebei and Amudat,” she said.

In his remarks, Member of Parliament (Kapchorwa) Hon. Kenneth Soyekwo also made a promise to ensure that the school initiated by the community becomes government aided in line with national policies that every Sub- County should have a secondary school.

“We have realized that FGM is mostly prevalent in areas where education is low. We need more schools in the community and I am committed to do what I can to ensure that this is made possible,” he said.

Tubomboi Primary and Tumboboi secondary are currently the only schools in the sub county. The nearest school, Kapchorwa secondary is 20 kilometers away, which according to the head teacher, Mr. Aziz Chemayek, puts the girls at risk of sexual violence and other abuses along the way. The secondary school has 200 students, 120 of whom are girls.

Under the Theme: “From no more FGM and child marriage to Education for all”, the Sabiny cultural day aimed to advocate for the end of FGM/C and child marriage while promoting education for all in the Sebei region.

School girls and boys presented poems and songs with messages calling for the empowerment of the girl-child through education: “We are living in a world of changes and education is the key to success,” they sang.

The occasion was attended by a cross section of community members; elders and young people, religious and political leaders as well as school children, demonstrating a multi sectoral approach to FGM/C abandonment.

About Sabiny cultural days

Every year, members of the Sabiny community living in the districts of Kapchorwa, Bukwo and Kween commemorate a cultural day. Supported by UNFPA, the day aims to promote positive Sabiny culture through music, dance and drama while discouraging FGM/C.

The day also recognises FGM/C is a violent practice, scarring girls and women for life, endangering their health, depriving them of their fundamental human rights, and denying them the chance to reach their full potential and leave their dreams, is a forms of gender inequality and harmful practice that leads to child, early and forced marriages.

As part of these global efforts, under the Joint Programme on FGM/C, UNFPA and UNICEF are partnering with Government of Uganda to ensure that Uganda is declared FGM/C-free by 2030. Funded by the following countries; United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Italy, Luxembourg, Ireland, Iceland, Germany, France and Finland, the programme works in collaboration with Uganda’s Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) to support six districts of Kween, Bukwo Kapchorwa in the Sebei region and Amudat, Moroto, and Nakapiripirit in the Karamoja region where FGM is practiced.

-Written by Evelyn Matsamura Kiapi