COVID19: Parents are crucial in offering protection to children – Mubangizi Prosper

Now that you all here, let us talk about protecting young people from the effects of COVID-19 and the question is how? Well, I’m sure you already have a few answers popping in your head.

On Wednesday, 13th, may, the YHA project and partners hosted a tweet chat on the protection of adolescents and young people from the effects of COVID-19.

The chat was aimed at highlighting and finding solutions to the challenges faced by adolescents and young girls in the communities. The project also seeks to amplify the voices of young people to demand their Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights from policymakers

During this pandemic period, it shows that health emergencies of adolescents and young girls have increased; looking at the media stories, some are sexually exploited and abused.

The threat of sexual abuse for young people especially girls extends past the physical on to the online sphere since most of them are spending a lot of time on the internet.

Some girls who are staying in hotels have been pushed into transactional sex because the universities are closed and their parents are also struggling to find what to eat, sadly their vulnerability to engage in sex for economic benefit increases their risks of being infected with the highly contagious coronavirus, STI’s, HIV and AIDS, unwanted pregnancies among others.

The ongoing economic insecurity has many vulnerable families react with negative coping strategies such as drug abuse, unprotected sex, increased debt among others. When schools, universities are closed, young people are enclosed up at home, they are facing a greater risk of exploitation and Gender-Based Violence.

The country so far has recorded 328 cases as of 17th April 2020 and these are the cases that victims managed to report about according to the Uganda Police

For many of the girls, schools are a safe space where teachers are always on the lookout and other adults identify signs of abuse and intervene in the lives of vulnerable girls.

Here are some of the opinions highlighted by the panellists and other participants

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Frank Byaruhanga is a human rights activist with years of experience in community dialogues, digital communication, advocacy and digital campaigns. He specializes in Media Relation Work, Management and Training with sufficient knowledge in Governance, Accountability, Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, Youth-led research, Content developer, Creative Activism, Social Media Management and documentary photography.

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