Start time October 11, 2021
Finished Time October 30, 2021

(International Day of the Girl Child 2021)

Theme: “My voice amplified, our equal future secured”


At 12 million (UNFPA Young People Fact Sheet), adolescents make up a quarter of the population in Uganda yet life remains harsh for many. Poverty, HIV/AIDS, early marriages, teenage pregnancy, gender-based violence and low participation in secondary education make it difficult for young people to fulfil their potential. Adolescent girls in particular, face multiple vulnerabilities.

Adolescent girls are severely and unevenly at risk of HIV infection. Two thirds of all new HIV infections are contracted by adolescent girls. Many girls also drop out of school as a result of unwanted teenage pregnancy and early marriage. According to the Ministry of health, 25% of Ugandan teenage girls become pregnant by the age of 19. 34% of women aged 25-49 were married before their 18th birthday and continue having babies into their mid-40s (UDHS 2016). In fact, The UNFPA Adolescent and Youth Dashboard – Uganda indicates that the percentage of women, aged 20-24, who gave birth before 18 is high at 33% with only 21.5% of secondary education completion rate (2017).

Complicated births and abortions, often requiring emergency obstetric care, are all too common among adolescent girls. But many teenage mothers do not have access to adequate reproductive health care and die while trying to give life. Uganda has one of the world’s highest maternal mortality rates, with 18 mothers dying every day in pregnancy or during and after childbirth. The traditional practices of child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM) while devastating for girls’ physical and mental health still persists in many communities. In 2013, Uganda ranked 16th out of 25 countries with the highest rate of child marriages. According to the UNFPA’s Adolescent and Youth Dashboard (2017), 10% of women aged 20-24 were married by age 15 and 40% of women aged 20-24 were married by age 18. Uganda is a home to 5 million child brides with 1.3 million of these married before age 15 (UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to End Child Marriage report 2019). A survey on the impact of Covid 19 on girls in crisis by Plan International indicates that due to the Covid 19 restrictions, there is expected to be an additional 13 million child marriages taking place that otherwise would not have occurred between 2020 and 2030.

A World Bank study (2017) indicates significant economic benefits for Uganda if efforts of ending child marriages and early child bearing are accelerated. The study highlights that ending child marriage and child bearing today could result in education budget savings for the government of up to USD 257 million by 2030 if Uganda were to achieve Universal Secondary Education by then. In addition, today, if women who were married early had been able to avoid child marriage, the gains in earnings and productivity that would have resulted are estimated at USD 514 million.

One of the best ways out of vulnerability, Poverty and exclusion is education, but access to secondary education is low in Uganda. Only a fifth of adolescents of the right age are enrolled in secondary schools. In addition to teenage pregnancy and child marriage, school fees and other related costs are key factors that keep adolescent girls out of school. Gender based violence is another barrier to girls’ education. This picture is worsening since Covid-19 with its restrictions and far reaching effects on the economy, health sector, education sector and others.

According to a World Bank study, if all female primary school dropouts in Uganda complete primary school alone, their additional contribution to Uganda’s economy over their lifetime would equal to 13% of annual GDP. And for secondary school, it would equal to 34%. On the contrary, when an adolescent girl becomes pregnant, the annual income that the teenage mother loses over her lifetime is estimated to be 30% of annual GDP (World Bank report 2016/17).

The clear and convincing evidence shows that investing in adolescent girls in the areas of education, health services, reproductive health and financial literacy improves socio-economic outcomes not only to girls and women but also for their communities, country and the next generation. It is against this background that Public Health Ambassadors Uganda in partnership (PHAU) with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA Uganda) has organized an adolescent-girl focused Generation Equality call to action initiative that focuses on addressing all socio-economic forms of inequalities, through a creative writing competition dubbed “Adolescent Girls’ Voices (AGV) Poetry & Storytelling Competition”, to amplify the voices and rights of adolescent girls in Uganda.



The AGV Poetry and Storytelling competition is an open space for adolescent creative writers aged (10 – 19 years) majoring in poetry and storytelling to join an adolescent-girl focused Generation Equality call to action movement that addresses all socio-economic forms of inequalities among Ugandan adolescent girls, by submitting a winning Poem or story to the AGVPS Competition Jury set up by Public Health Ambassadors Uganda (PHAU) and its partners. In commemoration of the International Day of the Girl Child 2021, the theme of the event is “My Voice amplified, our equal future secured

All participants will be required to submit their creative pieces and the Competition Jury will sit and assess every piece to select the top 10 finalists, who will be announced a few days before the grand finale event via PHAU and its partners’ websites and all related social media platforms. The selected top 10 finalists will then battle it out for the top four cash prizes by performing their creative pieces live at the virtual grand finale event. Out of the top 10 finalists, the Jury will select (against a criteria) the top 3 winning performances and the viewers will vote through a poll, its best performance which will be named as the “Viewer’s choice”.  The Jury’s top 3 winning performances as well as the Viewer’s choice will be announced and crowned with gifts and cash prizes at the grand finale event.

Main Objective

To address all forms of socio-economic inequalities among Ugandan adolescent girls aged (10-19 years) by amplifying their voices and rights through a creative writing competition dubbed “AGV Poetry & Storytelling Competition 2021”.


The Competition Call

To kick-start the commemoration of the International Day of the Girl Child, this call for submission of creative poetry and storytelling pieces shall be made public on the 11th of October on all the PHAU and UNFPA Uganda online Platforms.

Creative Piece Requirements

All Participants are required to submit a maximum of one creative piece (poem/story) in TWO forms namely;

  • Text: Not more than 3 pages.
  • Audio: Not more than 3 ½ minutes.


Submission and deadline

All Participants are required to submit their creative pieces by sending BOTH text and audio to PHAU email address before the 17th of October 2021. The text should strictly be in PDF format and the audio can be recorded using a simple Phone (but with voice clarity)

AGV Poetry and Storytelling Competition Jury

The AGV Poetry and Storytelling Competition Jury will have the responsibility of scrutinizing every creative piece to select the top 10 finalists and top 3 winning creative pieces. The committee will consist of experienced creatives, Youth and adolescent experts/consultants, a PHAU board member and a representative from some of our partners.

Assessment Parameters

Every creative piece will be assessed basing on the following parameters;

  • Originality: The ability to create your own content.
  • Creativity: The ability to use your own imaginations to be artistically different through your content.
  • Fact: The ability to provide accurate information within your content.
  • Call to action: The ability to inspire attitudinal, behavioural and practical change through your content.
  • Edutainment: The ability to give education and entertainment at the same time within your content.

Semi-finalists, Finalists, Winners and Prizes

  • Semi-finalists: An internal PHAU committee will receive submissions from all interested participants and will shortlist the competition semi-finalists. These will be shortlisted basing on the ability of their pieces to represent the theme and the objective of the competition. They will then be forwarded to the Jury for a detailed assessment to select the top 10 finalists.
  • Finalists: The Jury will scrutinize the pieces of all the semi-finalists using the assessment parameters and will select the top 10 finalists who will then be announced a few days to the virtual grand finale through the PHAU website and all its social media platforms.
  • Winners: The top 10 finalists will battle it out at the grand finale virtual event through performances of their pieces. The Jury will have the responsibility to asses and select the Top 3 performances. Through a poll, the viewers will also vote their best performances, and the performance with the highest number of votes (after the Jury’s top 3 performances) will be named the “Viewer’s choice” and will take the 4th The Top 4 winners will then be announced at the end of the event and will be awarded with gifts and cash prizes accordingly
  • Prizes: The Grand Prize is UgX 1,000,000, the 1st runners up prize is UgX 700,000, 2nd runners up prize is UgX 500,000 and the Viewer’s choice prize is UgX 300,000



The Grand Finale will be a virtual event conducted as a Webinar and streamed live via Zoom, Facebook and Youtube accounts of PHAU and the Stage. The theme of the event is “My voice amplified, our equal future secured”. PHAU through its communications team will send out invitations to relevant stakeholders including adolescent girls from different backgrounds and schools to attend the virtual Grand finale. The Grand Finale will take place on the 30th October in commemoration of the International Day of the Girl Child 2021.

Event Production

The Grand Finale will be produced as a live event using top quality production equipment and personale. The event will be produced from a central location and streamed via Zoom, Facebook and Youtube.

Event venue: The venue that will host the Grand Finale is Golf Course Hotel.

Performers & the Jury: All performers and the Jury will be required to physically attend the event via the event venue. This will ensure easy coordination as well as maintenance of the audio-visual quality of the event.

Production Team: Lane Production will be in responsible for providing all the audio-visual production services for the event.



At the end of the Competition, we intend to further amplify the voices and rights of adolescent girls by transforming the top 10 finalist performances into audio-visual tools that will be shared across different media and online platforms including the Stage to maximise reach and inspire attitudinal and behavioural change practices that support to bridge the socio-economic inequality gaps that still exist among adolescent girls in Uganda.



The Partners of the AGV Poetry and Storytelling competition include the following

  • PHAU
  • UNFPA Uganda
  • Guttmacher Institute
  • YoSPACE project
  • Open Mic Uganda



11th Oct. Official Public Announcement of the Competition Call PHAU
17th Oct. Submission Deadline PHAU
18th – 19th Oct. Shortlisting of the Semi-finalists Internal PHAU Committee
20th Oct. Announcement of Semi-finalists PHAU
21st – 24th Oct Assessment of the Semi-finalists to shortlist the Top 10 Finalists. External Jury
25th Oct. Announcement of the Top 10 Finalists PHAU
30th Oct. Virtual Grand Finale Event PHAU & Partners