Call for Youth Inclusion in Anti-FGM Policies in Sebei and Karamoja Regions

Youth leaders in Sebei and Karamoja sub-regions are urging the Government to actively involve young people in policymaking as a key strategy to combat Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) by 2030. Despite the outlawing of FGM in Uganda, communities in Sebei and Karamoja persist in clandestine practices, occurring in hidden locations such as bushes, forests, caves, and even across borders.

At a recent national dialogue organized by Action Aid International Uganda, youth leaders emphasized the significant role young people can play in eliminating both FGM and Child Marriages. Gloria Chelangat, the global youth consortium country representative in Uganda, stressed the importance of placing youths at the forefront and integrating them into all stages of budgeting. She emphasized that allocating funds to FGM and early marriage awareness campaigns is crucial to address these issues effectively.

Chelangat urged authorities to ensure the inclusion of such campaigns in the government’s budget, highlighting the need for ongoing awareness activities in the Sebei and Karamoja regions. She emphasized that young people, as influencers, can make a substantial impact through peer-to-peer communication.

Ronnie Limo, a member of the Youth Advisory Board for Reproductive Health Uganda, echoed the sentiment, urging the government to increase budget allocations for community campaigns against FGM. He emphasized that the current budget of UGX 1 million annually is insufficient for sustaining these vital campaigns.

Phyllis Chemutai, the District Woman MP for Kapchorwa, expressed confidence in the government’s efforts to end the practice of FGM. She highlighted the necessity of providing proper education to both boys and girls in FGM-prone areas, such as Sebei and Karamoja regions.

Samuel Francis Ononge, the AAUI project officer handling UNFPA-funded projects in the Sebei subregion, emphasized the importance of engaging youths as agents of change in the fight against FGM. He noted the changing methods of FGM practice and the challenge of obtaining accurate statistics due to the secrecy surrounding the issue.

Ononge believes that involving young people will act as a surveillance measure to monitor FGM prevalence and collect accurate data. The engagement involved youths from six districts of Sebei and Karamoja regions, including Kapchorwa, Bukwo, Kween, Moroto, and Nakapiripiriti.

Youth leaders also raised concerns about the laxity of the judicial system, citing bureaucracy and collaboration between perpetrators and police. They commended organizations like Action Aid International Uganda for organizing dialogues that bring stakeholders together to address issues like FGM. The youth leaders called on the government to enhance its efforts, build the capacity of the police force, and explore additional avenues for effective engagement.

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