With support from the Embassy of Ireland, the National Association of Women’s Organisations in Uganda (NAWOU), in partnership with their member organisations in Karamoja, have been advocating for an end to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). As an outcome of the advocacy, several girls run away from their homes where they were at risk of FGM and early marriage. In Amudat District, the girls were hosted at Kalas Girls’ and Katikit Primary Schools. Today, we celebrate four of these girls.
Two of them, Chepoghon Esther Flomena and Chepkiror Viola came to the shelter at Kalas Girls’ in 2017. The two were lucky because their mothers were willing and could afford to pay tuition. NAWOU supported them with scholastic materials and personal effects to keep them in boarding school which also doubled as a safe space/shelter. During holidays, NAWOU, with support from the Embassy of Ireland, provided food and other basic needs to keep the girls safe within the school. In 2020, when the schools were closed due to COVID19 and the lock down, the two girls from Katabok went back home hoping the situation had changed and they would be safe. However, the lock down period saw an escalation in FGM as well as early marriages. The girls, realizing they were not safe returned to Kalas girls and stayed on until they sat Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) in early 2021.
Chesinen Rachel was at Katikit Primary School since 2017, while Cherop Dorcus was enrolled at Loroo Primary School. During the lockdown, all the girls were sheltered at Kalas Girl’s since Katikit had become a COVID19 reception centre. Cherop had to leave home during the lockdown because she was at risk. These two were fully maintained by NAWOU, covering tuition, scholastic materials, personal effects and feeding during school term, holidays and lockdown.
On the 16th of July 2021, we received with joy the news that the best PLE candidate in Amudat was a girl, and not just any girl but one who took the risk of running away from home to escape violation as well as uphold her right to education. Chepoghon Esther Flomena got 11 aggregates (Division 1). She is also the first girl to lead the district and obtain a first grade in the history of Amudat district. The other three girls performed as follows:
- Chesinen Rachel – Katikit – 25 aggregates (She sat PLE after P6)
- Chepkiror Viola – Kalas – 26 aggregates
- Cherop Teresa – Loroo Primary – passed in second grade – results yet to be confirmed.
These are the fruits of understanding and fighting for their rights and determination exhibited by the girls, the support from the Embassy of Ireland and the support by the administration of the schools in Amudat cannot be over emphasized.