writing this article, I already owe myself a huge apology. I love writing as an
art and practice but I had always promised to myself that I wouldn’t write
about a) religion, b) sexual orientation and or c) sexual practices. Reason
being, I would always want to write about what I know in-depth and I believe,
to know something to a point where you can impart your ideas about it to
someone else, you should:
Have practically done that something repeatedly (practice makes perfect)
You must have been taught that something over time and/ or
You must have been seeing someone else do that something several times;
I don’t do, thus making me incalculably unqualified to write or talk about any
of those 3 issues above. However, because of my pervasive eye and desire
to point out challenges in society in a bid to forge a better tomorrow, am
inclined to break my own code of conduct.
have been involved in a few projects that have given me the opportunity to
travel within this country, in December 2012 and around January this year, I
was in Western Uganda precisely Fort Portal and Kasese districts, I saw
behavior of teenage girls, their willingness to move out with men they barely
know and possibly engage in sexual acts with them.
few months ago, I got the opportunity of being drafted as part of the technical
team for the“Internet Now”project ofOxfam Novibin the greater northern Uganda, thus several travels to Gulu
(about 300 kms from Kampala) and the whole Acholi sub region. What my eyes did
not go void of seeing is the behavior of teenage girls.
the LRA war in Northern Uganda, there was a practice known asnight commutingin Acholi region, this involved hundreds of children moving from
their households at night to go sleep in the safer urban centers. The effect of
this way of living probably did not end with the war; young girls have
continued to come to town in the night, not only to look for money through
sexual acts but also to seek plain sexual satisfaction through actively
involving themselves in sex. As opposed to the urban notion where women who
engage in commercial sex, do it in exchange for money, in Gulu, females have
desire for intensive sex just for enjoyment, a situation I accept is human but
very bizarre. Further,“night commutants”were used to free food among other social amenities, therefore
going back to work to get social amenities is not easy thus preferring to
continue coming to town in the night.
partly justifies the HIV prevalence rate of 6.9% as opposed to 6.7% national
average. The young girls on the streets are not afraid of HIV; they are rather
afraid of (teenage) pregnancy which stands at 25% in Uganda, a situation very
mindboggling. This has contributed to anHIV prevalence rate of 22%within Gulu Municipality alone – almost 4 times the national
average. Young people are particularly at risk as they become sexually active,
with 45% of new infections in those aged 15 and over occurring before they
reach 25. This is happening at a time when many organizations, government
agencies and donors are investing and tirelessly working towards fighting
sexual prejudice, HIV and child related vices.
interacting with a few teenagers in Gulu town to find out why they prefer this
mode of living than getting married and have sexual pleasure in marriage with a
defined partner (for those who have attained the marriage age), they vehemently
pointed out thedisadvantages of marriageand obstinately concluded that it was not a solution. They would
not want to be tied down in a marriage yet their interest in sex is very high
thus needing satisfaction. Further, waning to the fact of some young women in
the region are very sexually hyperactive; it is hugely not matched by the same
sexual behavior of men from the same area consequently leaving some women who
would want to be committed very frustrated by limited hours of intimacy with
their partners as reported in New VisionApril 24th, 2013.
an encouraging note, the girls agree that there is high HIV prevalence and will
not walk away without telling you (a visitor) to be careful, but will always
point out that women at some other areas are worse off, citing as far as Uganda
– South Sudan border pointing at young women in a place calledOlegowhom
they say are more sexually active, to a point where they can even detain a man
who does not heed to their sexual demands.
asked my taxi driver what could be done about this uncouth social life. He
responded by saying it is very hard to control girls. He continued that it is
difficult to know the number of sexual relationships one has, because these are
acts that are perpetuated in private. He also continued that the existence of
human rights makes it harder, because it is not to possible to arrest and
detain young girls wasting their future on streets, human rights agencies will
support what may be immoral yet legal.
to my respondents, having a TASO regional center in Gulu has partly made
teenagers less afraid of HIV because they are sure it will not kill them as
long as they can access free medication.
a rare perspective he applauded theWatotochurch systemwhere one cannot work with them unless they are married. He
admitted that this creates some level of fidelity and confirmed that a few
friends who went to Watoto to look for jobs were asked for marriage
certificates and had to beBorn Again.
Organizations like Save
the Children, Child Voice International, Child Fund, War ChildHolland
among others are working tirelessly towards improving life of children.
a nutshell, there is dire need for behavioral change in Gulu and several parts
of rural Uganda in a bid to fight child abuse, thoughtless sexual behavior and
HIV as a whole. Government needs to look into this and legislate onamicable solutions in regard to
social life; partly reviewing amount of time of exposure to alcohol
could be a worthy measure. Leaders in Acholi sub region and northern Uganda at
large need to come together find workable solutions towards child protection,
come up with viable governance polices and support NGOs towards the girl child,
CBOs and the religious leaders.