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Advocacy through art

Namutumba, Uganda | Patricia Akankwatsa In a bid to continue spreading the message about teenage pregnancies and sexual violence against children, ActionAid International Uganda embarked on a one-week campaign in Namutumba where they did painting and art in schools with messages of advocacy.

Immaculate Awori, the programmes officer at ActionAid in Eastern Uganda said that they chose this kind of messaging because it is the safest place where young girls can interact with what they need to know.

“We came up with this idea last year after the lockdown. There was an upsurge of teenage pregnancies in Uganda but more especially in Namutumba where there were around 3600 teenage pregnancies cases at the time,”

“We decided to use art to send these advocacy messages because young people relate more with pictures than just words,”

The campaign was done in five different schools in different sub-counties of the Namutumba district.

Eunice Kawuma a 14-year-old pupil at Budwapa primary school one of the schools where this campaign was done said that she liked the campaign because the paintings speak to them and explain what they need to know.

“I have heard about teenage pregnancies and sexual violence against children on the radio but that is once in a while. With these paintings on the walls, I keep reading the message and not forget it,”

Aisha Kisembo the district linkage officer of USAID thanked ActionAid for this initiative but also advised parents to take care of their children.

“ActionAid has put these messages on the wall. They are good but I need parents to get more involved in their children’s lives to protect them,”

“Parents should build relationships with their children. It is a long holiday and instead of sending them to go hawking, let them be involved in household activities. It is dangerous for young girls to be on the streets,”

Namutumba is one of the districts where teenage pregnancies and early childhood marriage happen a lot more.  8 out of 10 girls are married off before their 18th birthday.

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