The First Lady Janet Museveni has said that the issue of adolescent girls cannot be the responsibility of government and development partners alone but families must play the leading role in all matters concerning the adolescent girl.
Janet Museveni was speaking at the inaugural meeting of the National Task Force on the Girl which took place at Nakasero State House on Friday.
The meeting brought together government ministries and departments, Non-Government organizations, and UN agencies working in Uganda, who have formed a national task force with a multi-sectoral coordination mechanism for all services for the adolescent girl.
“Without the family, all our efforts and interventions will not be effective”, she said, adding that this initiative is to remind the communities of Uganda that their children are not the responsibility of schools, teachers and NGOs, when families are present in these communities.
She said that this campaign should engage communities and create more awareness about the roles of families adding that she was happy that the initiative will allow the message to sink and take root.
She appreciated the role of UN agencies like UNICEF in Karamoja region in reinforcing the government programs but said that for government programmes to succeed, communities must be involved.
Hon. Muruli Mukasa, the Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development thanked the various partners and stakeholders for their support and commitment towards this initiative on adolescent girls.
He said that while all adolescents, both boys and girls, are entitled to descent livelihoods, girls generally face disproportionate risks and distinctive consequences in this transition phase of their lives including dropping out from school, early marriages and bearing the brunt of poor sexual and reproductive health outcomes; and that this was the reason for a special focus on the adolescent girl.
The UNICEF Country Representative Aida Girma on behalf of the UN family expressed her happiness to be part of the adolescent girl initiative and appreciated the role played by the First Lady in other programmes like the Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV (EMTC) which has yielded positive outcomes.
She emphasized that the 2030 Sustainable Millennium Goals will not be met if the issue of the adolescent girl is not prioritized but gladly noted that Uganda is already moving ahead of most countries in this sector.
The meeting was attended by officials from the Government Ministries that deal with this particular issue. Some of those are Hon. Jessica Alupo, the Minister of Education, Hon, Sarah Opendi State Minister for Health, Hon. Kibuule State Minister for Water, Permanent Secretaries plus representative of UN Agencies, and NGOs.