Joint Press Release: International Day of the Girl Child
Government of Uganda launches new Index on adolescent girls
11th October 2013, Kampala, Uganda: This year’s celebrations of the International Day of the Girl Child have been marked with a launch of the first-ever Adolescent Girls Vulnerability Index of the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development. The Index will inform policy, programming and resource allocation decisions for adolescent girls.
“This Index highlights the need to increase focus on the most vulnerable of groups, the girl-child. Specifically, there is need to prioritise interventions that support girls to enrol and stay in schools for as long as possible, preferably through secondary schools and tertiary institutions,” said the Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Hon. Mary Karooro Okurut. “Education for girls at any level is a right, not a privilege.”
Overall, the Index indicates that girls experience a wide range of community-level vulnerabilities, including early marriage, illiteracy and HIV. The Index, prepared with support from UNICEF and Population Council, indicates that girls face the most extreme vulnerabilities in Karamoja and the fewest in the Western region, although significant challenges remain across the country.
Within Uganda, the Index reveals that the most challenging region in which to be an adolescent girl is Karamoja, where over half of adolescent girls between 10 and 19 years (53.6 percent) are vulnerable at all three levels - individual, household and community. In the Western region, 12 percent of adolescent girls face extreme vulnerabilities.
The UNICEF Representative in Uganda, Dr. Sharad Sapra, said the innovative index will guide investment in Uganda’s girl children. “With this Index, our focus on empowerment of vulnerable girls will be sharpened and programming for girls will improve immensely,” Dr. Sapra said.
A report by Plan International titled State of the World Girls 2013: In Double Jeopardy, Adolescent Girls and Disasters, which presents an analysis of how the different stages of a disaster can affect adolescent girls’ rights, was launched on the same occasion. The report indicates that worldwide, more than a quarter of girls experience sexual abuse and violence, 66 million are still not in school and in the developing world, one in every three is married before the age of 18. Nine out of ten disasters and 95 per cent of deaths caused by disasters take place in the developing world, while one in five of all females of reproductive age are adolescent girls.
“Participation of the girl child, even as we try to address disasters, must be ensured. Decision makers must listen to what girls have to say when planning for disasters,” said Plan Uganda’s Country Director, Fikru Abeba.
A range of innovations were exhibited at the celebrations, including UNICEF’s EduTrac and Mobi-station innovative tools. The Mobi-station provides access to education in resource-scarce environments while EduTrac is a mobile-phone based data-collection system that helps the Ministry of Education and Sports to collect data on indicators like absenteeism, cases of violence against children, school budget allocation, availability of textbooks, and functionality of water points and sanitation facilities.
The International Day of the Girl Child is a United Nations day to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face. The theme for the second observance of the day this year is Innovating for Girls’ Education, focusing on the need for fresh and creative perspectives to propel girls’ education forward. Stakeholders have used the day to focus on new technology, as well as innovation in partnerships, policies, resource utilization, community mobilization, and youth engagement.
For more information please contact: Mr. K.F. Mondo Kyateka F. Mondo, Assistant Commissioner-Youth Affairs/Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Tel: 0414 347 866, Mobile: 0776 000 909, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Charles-Martin Jjuuko, Communication Specialist, UNICEF Uganda, Tel: 041 717 1111, Mobile: 0717 171 111, Email: email@example.com
Ms. Justine Nakiwala, Communications Manager, Plan International, Tel: 0772935325, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org