Ariwa SS seeks own dormitory as pregnancy rates shoot up

Ariwa SS seeks own dormitory as pregnancy rates shoot up

Ariwa SS

Yumbe, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Girls at Ariwa Secondary School in Bidibidi refugee settlement in Yumbe district are struggling to complete their studies, as many of them are seeking accommodation in the community, and some are now pregnant.

Without dormitories, students are forced to rent houses within the community, something the school authorities say has exposed the female learners to the risk of teenage pregnancy since some men take advantage of them.

Records obtained from the school indicate that at least eight girls have dropped out of the school this term due to pregnancy. Meanwhile, 17 teenage mothers have been allowed to return back to the school according to the school administrators.

Irene Akajo, the deputy head teacher of Ariwa Secondary explains that some landlords and businessmen within the refugee settlement have taken advantage of the state of affairs to impregnate female students, something that has significantly affected the enrollment of the girl child.

Stella Yunimgba, the chairperson of the Board of Governors (BOG) of the school says that renting within the community has deprived the female learners of the social protection that boarding services at the school would offer, hence exposing them to risks of exploitation, abuse, and teenage pregnancies among others.

She further appealed to the government and refugee implementing partners to construct dormitories at the school premises to provide secure accommodation for the students.

Ariwa Secondary School, which started in 1996 is a mixed day private institution supported by refugee implementing partners. The school currently has a total enrollment of 1,025 students of whom 666 boys and 359 are girls.

Mathew Veni Vuyaya, the Yumbe Deputy Resident District Commissioner urged refugee implementing partners and parents to provide more psychosocial support in order to strengthen protective factors for their children and adolescents.

In 2022, the International Rescue Committee-IRC, the health implementing partner estimated that an average of 1,400 girls are impregnated annually in the Bidibidi settlement in Yumbe district.

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