Girl Up Initiative Uganda featured on NTV News!July 31, 2015Girl Up Initiative Uganda co-founder Monica highlighting our life-changing work for young women and girls. Our first feature with NTV News! In the comments below share your thoughts on her interview.
Below is a transcript of the video:
Girl Up Initiative campaigns against early sex and marriage
Narrator: Monica Nyiraguhabwa is a young, bubbly woman passionate about helping underprivileged girls younger than she is. She grew up in a sprawling slum in Luzira and studied within the confines of prison at Murchison Bay Primary School. For a girl who emerged out of a wretched life, where many odds were stacked against her, three years ago, she co-founded the organization Girl Up Initiative Uganda with Kimberly Wolf.
Monica: You know, there is a tendency of thinking that, because we are in Kampala, everything seems to be okay. But if you walked in the slums, there are high tendencies of abortions, which are not reported, of course, and captured.
There are so many girls who have dropped out of school, because after P7 - so what? And most of them maybe were deceived by maybe her boy, who told her that it’s okay to have sex while standing, you will not get pregnant.
Narrator: Today, she is a source of inspiration to girls who live in slums and are in school. Murchison Bay Primary School is located within the raised walls of Luzira Prisons, where criminals are kept for rehabilitation.
Monica: Girls who stay within the prison cells have their own challenges that need to be, they need to talk about them. We need to see how they go about it, how do they graduate from this environment.
Narrator: Some of the students here reside within the prisons, while others live nearby.
Monica: The girls who go to UPE schools and who are staying in the slums, for example of Kirombe, Luzira, Butabika do not get access to some of the education that they need to be able to be equipped to understand that they need to protect themselves, to understand that they need to stay in school longer.
Narrator: Masturah Nsungwa, a teacher and senior woman at Murchison Bay since 2001 underscores the role of career guidance tips to the students.
Masturah: In fact, I have seen a lot in this school. When I came to this school, girls could move out any time they wanted and they could come back at any time they want. And there were a lot of pregnancies. This school is big. We are over 2,000, but you really find it difficult in controlling the girls. First of all, when the monthly period comes, the whole school - almost everybody - is in the periods.
Monica: You realize that menstruation is one of the leading causes of girls dropping out from school. What Girl Up Initiative is doing is training the girls to make reusable sanitary pads.
Narrator: Most of the messages are centred around keeping the girls in school.
Interviewer: Sexuality education is very important to these girls, especially at the age they are at. They are given all the information and they are enabled to make decisions of their own - decisions that are going to affect their future.
Monica: Why do you think girls get pregnant at an early age? What is the problem?
Girl1: Boys – they can buy you a sweet, just a sweet, one sweet. Then, they come: “Ah, hello my girl.”
Girl2: “How are you? Oh, you’re beautiful.”
Girl3: Some girls that get pregnant, they walk with bad groups.
Girl4: Some girls get pregnant, because they are orphans; such as they have to live with their uncles. In order to live with their uncles, they have to play sex with their uncles.
Narrator: The girls in the Girl Up Club have also been taught communication skills to empower them to express themselves articulately. The discussion of the sensitive issue of incest, which is highly reported with the senior woman, was explicitly debated.
Girl5: It means something’s wrong or that my dad does not like me anymore.
Girl6: We never know. My father may be having a disease, so that disease may spread to me.
Girl7: I just run away.
Girl8: I would go to the police and the police comes and arrests my father.
Narrator: Many of the girls have vouched so stay in school - a decision which could save them from early marriage.
Masturah: Five years back, we have not gotten any pregnancy. We can clap for ourselves.
Narrator: After class, a batch of 80 students - girls only - attend these sessions until they graduate.
Masturah: No more keeping quiet for what we feel can violate us.
Interviewer: Do you ever include the boys?
Monica: We have a day in the school, where the girls come onboard and share with the boys the key messages they’ve learned, and we also encourage the boys to support the girls.
Narrator: The organization keeps tabs with girls who have dropped out of school, as well as those who have never attended.
Monica: So we put up a tailoring project, to support such girls, because most of them have children and, of course, the men have run away.
Woman: Anyway, we have a market. We make as many as we can. They bring us money.
Narrator: Harriet Amuge was a teenage mother at 16. She is 22 and has two children now. She’s waiting for an opportunity to go back to school, but for now she’s working to put her children through school, as well.
Interviewer: Why Girl Up – UP?
Monica: Girls are as intelligent. They are as good. They are as brilliant, so girls have to be ‘up’. It’s not true that girls just have to take the second position in society. So we are saying girls have to be ‘up’, because the men are already up.
Narrator: Monica would like to have such an initiative present in most urban slums in Kampala in the near future targeting a girl at a tender age, when she’s still ignorant of all the realities in life, especially for a girl brought up in a slum.