The Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah has appreciated the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for its continuous support and willingness to partner with Parliament through the Parliamentary Forum for Children.
Oulanyah said this while meeting a UNICEF delegation led the Country Director, Dr Mohamed El Munir A. Safieldin. They were concerned with the rising teenage pregnancies due to closure of schools during the Covid-19 pandemic. The meeting took place at Parliament on Monday, 13 September 2021.
Dr. Mohamed El Munir A. Safieldin said there are increased school drop outs as a result of these pregnancies. “The children drop out of school and get responsibility at an early age and they do not have enough income leading to the vicious cycle of poverty,” he said adding that, ’what is happening to the pregnancies? Are they being terminated in an unsafe way? If the children are delivered, are they registered?’
He added that the closure of schools has led to 15 million learners without proper education.
“E-learning should be the way to go during this time of the pandemic. Learners should be able to continue with their studies but unfortunately the internet is really bad especially in the rural areas. As UNICEF we have offered to partner with government and have more households have radios for education,” Safieldin added.
Speaker Oulanyah said there the two organisations will partner to ensure that the children achieve their full potential.
“Parliament as it is, may not to have the first line of thinking. We look at what is proposed to us because we are a processing institution; so we look at and adopt,” he said.
Oulanyah added that since it was time for the Budget process, there was need to increase funding to solve the concerns raised.
“There may be no need to change the law or drastically alter the policies but definitely there will be need for more money; these issues should begin surfacing in the budget talk. If the issues are not captured now, then it will have to wait till the next year,” he said.
The Chairperson of the Parliamentary Forum for Children, Hon. Margret Makoha, said she was grateful for the support that has been rendered to the forum over the years.
“As we work together, the forum can push for the rights of our children. We have a strong team that is ready to fight for the voiceless and with information we can mobilize our constituencies on how to protect the children because they are the future of tomorrow,” she said.