Woman, 23

- Uganda

I left primary school when I was 13, by that time ten girls in my village were already pregnant. People used to say those girls got pregnant because they associated themselves with girls who were bad and they had bad manners. I was told they were a bad omen. But that’s not true. They got pregnant because they didn’t have the information needed to make informed choices about sex and their future.

I went to an Anglican school which treasured purity. The only message I heard about sex was abstinence. So what does a girl do if she chooses not to abstain? Abstinence is unrealistic and puts a lot of pressure on girls. Putting the blame and responsibility on girls is not the solution. The solution is to improve sexual health and education in Uganda.

We need youth friendly spaces where we can learn about our bodies, healthy relationships, reproduction and get confidential access to contraception. Girls need to be informed and empowered so they can make choices over their bodies and their futures.

(This story is an excerpt from a blog written for Plan International.)

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