Charis Lynn Lamunu, a 12-year-old girl, briefly took over the role of the Swedish Ambassador to Uganda, Maria Hakansson, as part of an initiative to raise awareness about the rights and voices of young girls and women. The symbolic takeover occurred at the Embassy of Sweden in Kampala, Uganda.
Charis Lynn Lamunu, dressed in a floral dress with a pink coat, arrived at the embassy at 10:00 am, accompanied by Margaret Keji, a 13-year-old from the Bidi Bidi Refugee Settlement. The two young girls were welcomed by Ambassador Maria Hakansson.
During their visit, the three engaged in discussions about the challenges affecting girls’ and women’s rights and proposed potential solutions. At 10:30 am, Charis Lynn Lamunu officially assumed the position of ambassador and office space, temporarily taking over the responsibilities of Ambassador Hakansson to run the embassy’s work.
In her address to embassy staff, the 12-year-old ambassador emphasized the importance of empowering young girls to have a voice on a global stage. She acknowledged the long-standing commitment of the Swedish government to advance gender equality and children’s rights.
Charis Lynn Lamunu noted that while Uganda has made significant progress in promoting gender equality in areas such as girls’ education, access to sexual and reproductive health information, and addressing violence against women and girls, challenges such as early marriages and teenage pregnancies persist. Uganda has the highest rates of these issues in East Africa.
The 12-year-old ambassador also highlighted the need to combat gender-based violence, citing statistics that reveal 56% of women aged 15–49 in Uganda have experienced physical violence, while 22% have experienced sexual violence.
Following her speech, Charis Lynn Lamunu handed back the office to Ambassador Hakansson, concluding her symbolic role as ambassador for the day.
Ambassador Hakansson urged girls and women to take up leadership and business positions to influence legislation and service delivery for further development. She stressed the importance of gender equality for the overall development of the country and encouraged girls to aspire to diverse career paths and roles in society.
The event served as an opportunity for young girls to share their aspirations and amplify their voices on issues affecting them, emphasizing the importance of gender equality, women’s rights, and girls’ empowerment.c
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