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Speaker of Parliament launches Live Your Dream campaign, calls for support to girl child education

The Speaker of Parliament Hon. Rebecca Kadaga has called for more efforts to promote girl child education and protect girls from harmful practices including child marriage and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).  Speaking as Guest of Honour at the launch of the Live Your Dream campaign in Kampala, Hon. Kadaga said while the government is committed to ensuring that Uganda has a healthy and productive population of young people; many of them still lack access to education and health services.

 “Many young girls in this country walk long distances in order to get to school. It’s important that we take education facilities close to where the children are,” she said to hundreds in attendance, including young people, religious and cultural leaders and representatives of civil society.

The Speaker hailed UNFPA for initiating and implementing the Live Your Dream campaign, as one of the ways to address the several challenges that hinder the growth and development of young people, including the high rates of teenage pregnancy, child marriage and FGM, common in many parts of the country.

Live your Dream is a multimedia campaign, implemented by UNFPA Uganda in partnership with the Ministry of Health, with support from the Korea International Cooperation Agency and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

Speaking at the event, the Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda, His Excellency Per Lindgarde said that the Swedish government is proud to support the campaign because Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights as well as gender equality are the foundation for sustainable development.

“It is of great importance that we all join hands in reducing negative practices such as gender-based violence, child marriage and teenage pregnancies, so that Uganda does not miss out on a significant part of the population’s potential,” he said.  

The Charge d’affaires at the South Korean Embassy, Ms. Hyejin Kim noted that it is vital to create an environment where girls and boys can drive their dream to reach their full potential.

“This campaign came at a most opportune time when we as partners as well as the Ugandan government must step up efforts to empower boys and girls in Uganda to be better equipped for the future, rather than getting trapped in various hurdles including lack of sexual and reproductive health education, early pregnancies and HIV infections,” she said.  

On her part, the Minister of Health Dr. Jane Ruth Acheng appealed to the campaign implementing partners to empower parents with information to speak to the young people to enable them navigate through the challenges of puberty by providing them accurate information.  She also pledged her commitment to support the campaign and provide leadership for its implementation.

The ceremony was also lit up by a performance from six popular Ugandan musicians; who sang a song titled  Baleke, a call to let girls stay in school and protect them from teenage pregnancy and child marriage.  As part of the launch, UNFPA’s partner Reach A Hand Uganda staged a flash mob in Kisenyi, a high-density slum in Kampala to provide information to young people about the campaign. Peer educators and skaters also positioned themselves around two busy roundabouts in the city centre displaying placards with campaign messages.

About the Live your dream campaign

Live Your Dream is implemented in partnership with Communication for Development Foundation Uganda (CDFU) and Reach A Hand Uganda (RAHU). The campaign has four pillars:

  1. LIVE YOUR DREAM by letting girls be girls: focuses on addressing the issues that abruptly end the childhood of girls including Gender-based violence (GBV), lack of access to family Planning and teenage pregnancies.
  2. LIVE YOUR DREAM by Choosing Books before babies: speaks to keeping girls in school by addressing barriers to education and promoting access to appropriate education on sexual and reproductive health and rights to prevent teenage pregnancies and HIV.
  3. LIVE YOUR DREAM - With You(th): reflects on the need to invest in young people in order to unleash their full potential, empowering for innovation and social change. With You(th) also reaches out to young people in humanitarian settings where host communities and refugee populations work together to build resilience.
  4. LIVE YOUR DREAM by bringing generations together (Generation for generation - G4G): brings generations together, infusing the wisdom of the elderly with the energies of the youth, tapping on the insights of academia with the diversity of views of decision-makers in order to improve policies that affect Uganda's future.

Campaign messages are disseminated on radio and TV, through community dialogues and print materials as well as through online media. 

By Martha Songa