Cultural Facts: A Case for Advocacy
Girls are still seen as properties and disposable. They are expected to marry soon after reaching puberty age. When resources are very limited, as often is the case, the boy child is favored. The girl child only needs to be brought up to speed with home chores until they hit about age 15 years old and off they are married. A bride price (dowry) paid to the girl’s father, instantly confirms the girl’s position as a property at her place of marriage. She now must demonstrate that she is well prepared by her parents for the task. In fact, she is literally trapped. She cannot complaint or even think of coming back home, for fear of shaming her parents and more so the likelihood of her fathers’ inability to refund the bride price. This cultural phenomenon is particularly vicious in rural areas. Here are some facts;
- Most girls with no formal education are married by age 18.
- Many girls ages 15-18 years old would have already given birth to a child.
- Girls are twice more likely to be infected with STD at age 15-19 than their male peers.
- Girls who manage to complete secondary education get married much more later than those with no education
- Clean water is very scarce, no electricity, fire wood is the primary fuel for cooking. This, coupled with care for siblings and many other household works that girls tackle every day, makes it easy for parents to keep them at home.
Nile Care has established Advocacy program as part of the Girl child education project. The targeted participants primarily are: Teachers, Parents, Church groups, and elders. The program aims to:
- Raise awareness in local communities about concerns regarding girl child education in West Nile.
- Promote action by community members to address the concern and support girl empowerment.
- Promote local community partnerships that supports girls and advocate for their rights
A total of three active local volunteers identified for each participating school. Two female school teachers and one male either within church leadership or Parent Teacher Association leadership.