A Sports Gala breaking barriers and rallying Against Child Marriage
On the 6th October 2023 , Gufasha Girls Foundation organized and held it’s first ever annual gala, an event that aimed at using sports such as football and netball as a tool of advocacy to address the issue of child marriage and bring together a wider community to raise awareness and strengthen the capacity of adolescent girls to stand against child marriage as well as to improve community response towards ending child marriage in Uganda.
In the heart of our community, where dreams often collide with harsh realities, the Gufasha Girls Annual Gala stood as a beacon of hope and a catalyst for transformation. The event was a platform to amplify the voices of adolescent girls and victims of child marriage and to champion a cause vital to the future of our girls.
The statistics surrounding child marriage in Uganda are staggering with 34% of adolescent girls being married off as children every, painting a grim picture of young lives shackled by tradition and societal norms.
Child Marriage robs girls of their childhood, education, and opportunities, condemning them to a cycle of poverty and despair.
Gufasha Girls Annual Gala sought to rally the community in support of girls’ education, empowerment, and equality and brought together more than 500 different stakeholders including educators, local leaders, adolescent girls, victims of child marriage the Police, and Health workers among others. Through the medium of sport, we conveyed a powerful message—a message of inclusivity, support, strength, and the limitless potential of girls and young women.
We engaged the wider community including the Police, Teachers, young people, Health workers, Women leaders, Religious leaders, and Traditional leaders with keynote speeches and informative sessions including artistic performances (dance, music, and spoken word performances) from adolescent girls highlighting the detrimental effects of child marriage and the importance of education in breaking this cycle.
Gufasha Girls Annual Gala also provided a social space that fostered meaningful inclusion and engagement of girls and enabled networking between young people and leaders.
The event provided girl-led sessions which acted as a platform for adolescent girls (participants) to interact with each other and share their ideas on the issue of child marriage and amplify their voices well as educate and empower them about their rights to enable them become powerful leaders and advocates of change in their communities.
The fight against child marriage cannot be won overnight. It requires sustained efforts, collaborative action, and unwavering determination, and thus 70% of stakeholders that attended signed a 12-month commitment to working together with Gufasha Girls Foundation in local communities and schools of Kayunga district to deliver life skills and advocacy sessions to end child marriage.