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Girls take over in Uganda!

By Sarah Istephan, Marketing Manager

Celebrating International Day of the Girl today in Uganda, Sharon, an Act4Africa Peer Educator trades places with Moris Kabunzugwire our Team Manager in Kasese, Western Uganda.

Today young girls around the world step into the shoes of principals, leaders, mayors in an effort to demonstrate their strength, power and ability to change the world.  Sharon (aged 17) joins them and steps up to the mark giving her perspective on the priorities for teenage girls Western Uganda today.

Primarily, as a teenage girl living with HIV since a being a baby, Sharon values the work that Act4Africa does in her community to reduce the stigma of HIV/AIDS.  She has been trained by Act4Africa as a Peer Educator to deliver our programme of interactive gender equality education to the youth community, providing an effective and sustainable means to educate young Africans about HIV/AIDS related issues.

“Being a Peer Educator has made me understand that even though I am HIV positive, I am still important to the community. Being a victim is not a problem but part of the solution. Through Act4Africa I have developed a talent for teaching and talking to others. As Team Manager today I would like to use these skills to communicate with a wider community to sensitize more people to the effects of HIV/AIDS and help set up HIV testing and counselling programmes with Act4Africa to prepare me for my preferred career as a nurse.”

As well as being a Peer Educator, Sharon is also a beneficiary of our Grow a Girl programme.  As such she receives sponsorship for her school fees, uniform, education supplies and sanitary protection. Sharon knows the importance of educating girls through her own experience.  She appreciates that she is one of the fortunate 15% who remain in school at her age.

Today, as she takes on Moris’ role as Team Manager for the day, Sharon wants toreach out to more girls to explain the importance of attending school after the age of 12.  Sharon explains, “I encourage my peers not to marry young and the importance of abstinence so that they can remain in school.”  In her role as Team Manager today she encourages Act4Africa to reach out to the families of girl children to communicate the benefits each girl can bring to her family through her education.

In Uganda 85% of girls drop out of school early and almost half are married before they reach 18.

Globally, 15 million girls are married as children each year.

With every year of education, girls have better economic prospects, fewer and healthier children and better chances of sending their own children to school.

This is why we need International Day of the Girl and your support to help Grow A Girl.