Harnessing the Potential of Women is a Collective Responsibility:

Harnessing the Potential of Women is a Collective Responsibility:

Women empowerment means empowering women to be able to make their own choices about their lives in a community that offers equal opportunities to all without any discrimination on the grounds of gender, social status, cultural norms, and age. We all have a responsibility to promote the concerns of women and the girl child in our country because; 

"When women succeed, nations are more secure and prosperous:- Barrack Obama (Former US President). In Uganda, the fight for women emancipation has been left to the civil society organisations, Uganda government, women foundations and associations. 

The challenges that affect women and the girl child require a concerted effort. Talk about failed marriages and the effects of living with children without or no support at all. Domestic and gender based violence in homes (Approximately 20 girls are defiled daily in Uganda- Daily monitor, Thursday Feb 2013), dehumanising cultural norms like Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), which, in most instances goes unreported, have adversely affected women ability to live dignified lives. Remember, what affects a mother, affects the child. So, if we are to save our posterity, we need to create a great deal of awareness on the protection of the rights of women from any form of abuse to all those concerned.

At Mission for African Mothers (MAM) through our various women empowerment programmes, we offer support to the Single Expectant Mothers (SEMs) as a vulnerable group in society. We have promoted, advocated and pioneered Free Infant Medical Insurance and supported children below 12 months to access free medical protection while their mothers concentrate on other basic needs. We have also promoted menstrual hygiene amongst school girls where we have trained the girl child to practically make her own reusable sanitary pads. Menstruation as a seemingly normal development in girls and women, greatly affects their childhood especially on how they manage it while at school, and has in many instances, been reported as one of the major causes of school dropouts amongst the girls due to hindered confidence and basic right to life. We believe that any challenge that affects a woman in her childhood, will be consequential to her adulthood. 

Furthermore, the increasing usage and untamed access by children to internet and social media has worsened their vulnerability to online sexual abuse orchestrated by paedophiles and has caused unprecedented levels of abuse, through cyber-stalking, cyber-bullying, and blackmail and sharing of pornographic materials. 

We need a concerted effort on this. MAM, with support from our partners, are piloting an Online Child Protection Campaign (OLCPC) in schools around Kampala on how we can protect our children from online abuse.  So, we need the support of internet companies, government, teachers, parents and the general public to ensure that our children especially the girls are supported and given an opportunity to grow gradually with the utmost levels of discipline and self-assurances without seeking justification from strangers, have access to proper and age appropriate designated education, accessible health care, in order to successfully navigate the challenges of life and determine their own destiny. This will have fulfilled our Mission as African Mothers.

ABOUT THE ARTICLE

This article was authored by Mission for African Mothers (MAM). It was published in the Uganda Women's Magazine published on 8th March 2017 (Pages-48-49) for the 2017 Women's Day Cerebrations. 



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