Today, we feature Ms. Vivian Kityo a woman so passionate about providing refuge for young women with un wanted pregnancies. Born and raised in Kampala, Uganda Vivian is a trained nurse with degree in Health Administration and Administrative Studies. She is the Founder and Director of Wakisa Ministries, she has received several prestigious awards for her work, most recently the New Vision Women Achiever Award. She also featured in MIW magazine 2015 as one of Africa’s most influential women in business and government impacting and transforming lives in Africa.
Working as a young nurse in the maternity ward at a Ugandan hospital, Vivian watched steady streams of young girls with unwanted pregnancies come to give birth, majority of whom had been raped or violated in various ways. In 2005, Vivian decided she had witnessed enough of this social ill and founded Wakisa Ministries, a crisis pregnancy center with the intention of providing support services to these girls.
To support these young mothers, Vivian built the Wakisa Minis- tries based in Bakuli, a suburb about 5km west of Kampala city center which is Uganda's only teenage pregnancy crisis center. The center currently hosts 22 girls who would otherwise have been at school or at home with their families; instead these young girls were nursing little babies or carrying them in their small tummies with the youngest being about 10 years old.
During our visit at the center, we found Vivian in her ofﬁce talking to two girls. One of them; a tall and slim pre-teen with slightly lighter-skin complexion has just returned from boarding school and still has her casual uniform on blue T-shirt, navy blue skirt and a brown sweater wrapped around her shoulders. She is actually 14 years old. The other girl is of lighter skin complexion with pre-teen a skin condition dots on her face. She is in fact 10 years-old, heavily pregnant, and looks quite exhausted as she recline on the sofa. Vivian said she was the youngest pregnant girl the center has hosted in a decade.
Akina Mama wa Afrika’s (AMwA) work being rooted in advocating for women and girls’ rights, we felt the need to reach-out and add our voice on how sexual violence against young girls can be prevented since addressing Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) is one of our key area of concern. Our ﬁndings on unintended pregnancy rates from the visit indicated that 43% of young mothers had been “unwilling” to have sexual intercourse which conﬁrms that indeed one in every three households a teen has got pregnant or has had a child which is a big threat to the development and empowerment of a girl child. The costs related to teenage pregnancies remain a big burden for the country since many girls are often not able to complete secondary school, making it difﬁcult for them to ﬁnd decent jobs to take care of themselves and their children.
Together, we can save many girls worldwide; if we choose to speak-out, teach and popularize the dangers of early sex initiation as Wakisa Ministries continues to empower young girl’s with vocational skills such as, candle making, tailoring, paper bead necklaces, knitting, urban agriculture and health care e.g breastfeeding and infant care, Vivian hopes to enroll all her girls into vocational schools by 2020 and create a policy aimed at ending child marriage. She is obviously a power to reckon with!
By Mercy Asianut
Communications Intern, AMwA