Ugandan girls need more than sanitary pads, says US official

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The United States Embassy in Kampala wants the government of Uganda to develop programmes tailored towards addressing challenges faced by adolescent girls beyond providing free sanitary pads to them.

Mr Mark Meassick, a director at the US Mission said Uganda needs to critically think about the plight of adolescent girls because they comprise the majority of the population; they have the highest HIV infection rates and they are the ones producing the highest number of children without any planning.

” Provide tailored attention to their needs. Help them to overcome all these obstacles because they deserve a chance like all Ugandans. In special circumstances, we should give a special package of chances,” he said while passing out formerly vulnerable girls who have been empowered to fend for themselves without waiting for handouts.

He said: “For every 100 girls starting P.1, only 6 finish secondary school. So, the best way for Uganda to control its population is to ensure that girls complete secondary education. It is also important to find solutions such as the provision of reusable sanitary pads and other services at school,” he said.

While campaigning in 2015, President Yoweri Museveni promised that once he is re-elected, his government would give free sanitary pads to adolescent girls.

However, the First Lady Janet Museveni, who is also the education minister, recently said that the government does not have the money to fulfill the pledge; triggering criticism from opposition politicians and some civil society organisations.

 Mr John Makoh,a the AVSI country representative said they are celebrating the success of the SCORE Project which did not give out handouts to girls but empowered about 30,000 lasses to increase their social security.

He said the beneficiaries can now start income generating projects which would enable them send their children to school and have stable families.

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