Denis Francis, the President of the 78th UN General Assembly, lauded Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA)’s efforts in empowering young girls through the Girls Empowering Girls (GEG) program.
Francis embarked on a field visit to Nakivubo Primary School in Kampala on Saturday to witness the impactful GEG program. Organized by UNICEF Uganda, the visit showcased the success of the social protection initiative aimed at addressing the challenges faced by urban girls in Uganda.
The GEG program directly targeting children, is funded by the Belgium government through UNICEF and implemented by KCCA. The initiative focuses on ensuring a safe transition into adulthood for girls, providing education and training opportunities, and empowering them to achieve their goals.
During the visit, Francis lauded the Ugandan government and the KCCA for their extraordinary commitment to the program.
“The UN stands behind you in this extraordinary program of empowering women and girls,” he emphasized. Francis also extended gratitude to UNICEF and Belgium for their support.
Hugues Chantry, the Ambassador of Belgium to Uganda, was present at the event, reinforcing the commitment of the Belgium government to the success of the Girls Empowering Girls project.
Minister of State for Youth and Children, Nyirabashitsi Sarah Mateke, commended KCCA and the Belgium government for their support.
She expressed Uganda’s dedication to meeting Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets and highlighted the integration of social protection in the National Development Plan III.
“Uganda is committed to building a social protection system that contributes to reducing poverty, building resilience, addressing risks, and vulnerability,” Mateke declared.
She acknowledged the challenges, with 20.3% of the population living in poverty and only a 2.9% coverage of social protection due to limited financing.
However, Uganda aims to expand social assistance coverage to at least 10% of the vulnerable population by 2030. The government is also working on a National Health Insurance system to cover the entire population.
Dorothy Kisaka, the KCCA Executive Director, shared the success story of the Girls Empowering Girls program, which began in 2019 and has already benefited 3000 girls.
Kisaka highlighted achievements such as the transfer of UGX 4.3 billion to beneficiaries through caregivers, providing UGX 60,000 per month to each child.
The unique approach of providing small cash transfers through mobile money has enabled parents and guardians to purchase essential items such as scholastic materials and sanitary pads, ensuring that girls can stay in school.
In 2023, the program achieved a remarkable 98% transition of girls from primary to secondary school among participating institutions.
Additionally, 52% of out-of-school girls enrolled in the program voluntarily returned to school and have successfully remained enrolled.
The Girls Empowering Girls program stands as a beacon of hope for empowering the future leaders of Uganda and serves as a testament to the positive impact of international collaboration in addressing critical social issues.