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BOY/MALE CHAMPIONS INTENSIFYING REPORTING AND TRACKING CASES OF CHILD MARRIAGE

Since the inception of the GAA project, TMF has employed the strategy of engaging boys/young men as Champions against child marriage within their communities. These male Champions have had their capacity to identify, report and follow up cases of abuse including child marriage and teenage pregnancy against adolescent girls within their communities as a means of promoting gender equality. Over time, these boy/men Champions have become points of reference within their communities in cases that involve child marriage or teenage pregnancy.

Lameck engaging with community members at a drinking spot in Omarari Parish, Omoro Sub County, Alebtong district

Opori Lameck is the Chairperson of the boy/men Champions of Omoro Sub County in Alebtong district. He has embraced his role as a Champion of change within his community and has been at the forefront of reporting and following up a number of child marriage cases. As a male Champion, Lameck has learnt to appreciate the value of working with leaders from the Sub County in tackling often complex cases of child marriage and teenage pregnancy that have occurred in his community.

One such example involved a head teacher of Obile P.7 Primary School in Omarari Parish, Omoro Sub County who had impregnated two girls in his school and run away to upgrade his academic qualifications from Kyambogo University in Kampala. As a Champion, the case was referred to him by the parents of the girls. Lameck reported the case to the Community Development Officer, Omoro Sub County who referred the case to the Resident District Commissioner, Alebtong District for action since the culprit was in Kampala. The Resident District Commissioner directed the DPC of Alebtong district to ensure that the suspect was arrested and brought before court. The suspect was subsequently arrested from Kampala and taken back to Alebtong where he was tried and sentenced to a prison term.

Lameck continues to advocate for positive social norm change in his community through engaging with his peers, men and other community members. The continuous capacity building and advocacy spaces provided to him as a Champion of change have built his knowledge on the key stakeholders to engage while reporting and following up cases of child marriage and teenage pregnancy in his community, and also given him the skills necessary to advocate for communities and community leaders to adopt alternative positive social norms, attitudes and practices that promote and protect the rights of adolescent girls and young women in Omoro Sub County.