FIRST LADY LAUNCHES GENDER IN EDUCATION POLICY (2017)
The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Mrs Janet Museveni has officially launched the “Gender in Education Policy (2017)” to provide an inclusive and equitable quality education and sports for all girls, boys, women and men in Uganda.
The First Lady launched the Policy on Thursday during the celebrations to mark the International Day of the Girl Child held at Kyenjojo District Headquarters grounds where she was the Chief Guest. The colourful celebrations were organized by the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development in partnership with OAFLA-Uganda with the funding support of UNICEF.
Mrs. Museveni said the Policy seeks to enhance equal access and participation for girls and women, boys and men in the education sector and to promote the provision of relevant knowledge and skills equally to males and females. The policy also seeks to improve the amount of resources allocated for the delivery of gender equality and girls’ participation in education, science, technology and sports and promote an enabling, protective and gender responsive learning environment for all persons.
Mrs. Janet Museveni called for shared responsibility in the implementation of this policy. “As the education and Sports Sector, we will heavily rely on your support”, she said while addressing a mammoth gathering that turned up for the International Day of the Girl Child celebrations.
She said the theme of this year’s celebrations which is, ‘Empowering Girls: Emergency Response and Resilience Planning”, calls for more opportunity for girls and increases awareness of gender inequality faced by girls worldwide based upon their gender areas o of education, nutrition, legal, medical care, protection from discrimination, violence against women and forced child marriages.
“If we effectively support the adolescent girls, they have the potential to change this world both as empowered girls of today and as tomorrow’s workers, mothers, entrepreneurs, mentors, household heads and political leaders”, she said.
She pledged to continue mobilizing and galvanizing communities to help reduce the plight of the adolescent girls who are exposed to harmful cultural practices such as early and unsafe sexual activity, child marriages, teenage pregnancies, female genital mutilation among others.
Mrs. Museveni urged boys and men to know that they have a role to play if the adolescent girl is to realize her right to a safe, educated and healthy life saying that currently Ugandan boys and men have remained largely unsupportive of the adolescent girl and women in general. “I honestly would like to see our boys be different and caring people to their siblings the girls and in time be responsible fathers”, she said and encouraged engagement of the adolescent boys and men as beneficiaries and rights co-holders.
She underscored the role of the family as the basic unit for moral upbringing of boys and girls. “Everything we do can only build on the family effort”.
She also reminded the religious leader to effectively use their platforms and fulfill the major role they have to play in society.
The Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi thanked the First Lady for championing the adolescent girl agenda and the children endowment fund. She thanked UNICEF for enabling the recently concluded excursion to USA, Brussels and London. She also thanked Pius Bigirimana the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development and his team for successfully coordinating the celebrations.
The UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Rosa Malango acknowledged the Government of Uganda for the various policies, strategies and frameworks that focus on upholding the rights of the adolescent girl. She pointed out the National Youth Policy, National Strategy to End Child Marriages and Teenage Pregnancies, Revised Adolescent Health Policy and the Draft National Framework on Sexuality Education.
She pledged the UN family’s commitment to the adolescent girl and to continue supporting the efforts at the District and National levels to ensure that each adolescent girl has a dignified life.
Representing the European Union, Anna-Maria Olsson from the Embassy of Sweden in Uganda commended the Government of Uganda for promoting gender equality and including gender equality in the National Development Plan. She said Gender Equality is the foundation for sustainable economic development and also a priority area for the European Union.
In their memorandum the children highlighted some challenges they face including limited parental care, domestic violence, loss of parents, social harassment, early marriages, child labour, menstrual worry and stigma, peer pressure, sexual harassment, teenage pregnancies, favouratism, corporal punishment and many others. They called upon all stakeholders to play their role in addressing these issues
Other people who spoke during the function included the Mwenge South MP Aston Kajara and Kyenjojo District Chairperson William Kaija.