AfricaStoryTeenage Mothers Project by Aga Szydlik

Teenage pregnancy in Uganda has increased dramatically in recent years and currently, Uganda is one of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa with highest rates of teenage pregnancy: one out of four females aged 15–19 gives birth to a child
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Bunyonyi Initiative focuses on empowering young women in Kabale region, Uganda by providing them with employment opportunities through vocational training.

Teenage pregnancy in Uganda has increased dramatically in recent years and currently, Uganda is one of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa with highest rates of teenage pregnancy: one out of four females aged 15–19 gives birth to a child [1].

A large number of unmarried teenage mothers face physical, psychological, and social problems after pregnancy and childbirth, lack of education, and stigmatization in their communities. The Teenage Mothers Initiative in Bunyonyi, Uganda empowers unmarried teenage mothers to cope with the consequences of early pregnancy and motherhood through vocational schooling and counseling [2].

Many young women enrolled in the program come from unprivileged rural families in Kabale region, Uganda. Young women often migrate to bigger towns in search of jobs and income to support their families. Young women work long hours, isolated from their families and for minimum wage in various establishments and stone queries were they are abused both psychologically and sexually.

Child Labor | Stone Queries

Children are three times more likely to be employed than city children with child employment rate in rural areas at 34% compared to 11% in urban areas [3]. At least two million children aged from five to 17 years are engaged in child labour, the first Child Labour Report released by the Uganda Bureau of Statistic (UBOS) reveals. The report establishes that the two million child labourers accounted for 16% of the entire population of 11.5 million children in Uganda [4]. Of the child workers, 52.5% were males while 47.5 were female. One in every four working children (26%) carried heavy loads at their respective workplaces, revealed the findings [4].

Teenage Mothers Project 

The project is a run by a community-based organization where young mothers attend a vocational school learning tailoring, knitting, hairdressing, craft production to improve their income earning potential and socio-economic status. The organization assists young women with dorms, daycare, training, school fees, and start-up capital to earn their independence. Young women also face stigmatization, social disconnect and abuse from society, as they are ostracized by society and their family, often regarded as an “undesirable” members of society, which leads them to depression and hopelessness. [BUNYONYI TEENAGE MOTHERS EMPOWERMENT INITIATIVE][Official Website]


[1] Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), ICF International Inc: Uganda demographic and health survey 201. 2012, Kampala, Uganda: UBOS and Calverton, Maryland: ICF International Inc

[2] Leerlooijer, J.N., Bos, A.E., Ruiter, R.A. et al. Qualitative evaluation of the Teenage Mothers Project in Uganda: a community-based empowerment intervention for unmarried teenage mothers. BMC Public Health 13, 816 (2013).


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