State of child welfare in Uganda
By Balaba Asuman Student Makerere University P.O.Box 7062 Kampala
How child friendly is your country? Should parents or the state be held accountable for the well being of children? Does a country’s wealth guarantee better welfare for children? Should the state interfere in the how parents treat or bring up their children?
In Africa and the world at large, it is the responsibility of the nationals and the government entrusted to power, to create an enabling environment geared at safeguarding child rights and well-being of children because they are the future governors of the next generation. To answer the above question I will base on the NGOs findings and general observation of the situation in Uganda.
African Network on Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN) had frequently reported a high level of child abuse in districts of Uganda. ANPPCAN, research reveals child abuse despite wide exposure by the media and other research institution.
Children have been abused physically, sexually and neglected in that out of 16,800 cases of child abuse 95 percent were committed by male aggressor and 5% by female. The sexual abuse takes (82.9 percent) 13,929, physical abuse (9.9 percent) 1670 and neglect with (2.6percent) 450, while a total of (4.5percent) 751 cases were not classified.
The compiled report from judicial proceedings totaled 1808 cases with Lira having the highest of 221 cases, followed by Mbarara 182, Mubende 136 and Moroto , Buganda Road and Masindi had few cases, 2, 5 and 6 respectively.
On regional level out of 8681 cases, western had 31.1%, followed by central 29.1%, eastern 22.7 and northern with 17.7%. District level, out of 3103 Jinja had 509 with the highest figure, followed by Masaka 419, Pallisa 399, Lira 359, Kira Rd ( Kampala ) 339 and Mpigi 312.
The cause of child abuse has been brought by cultural practices like early marriage with the desire to get dowry, inheritance of the deceased which is found out that most people donʼt use the responsibility entrusted of taking care to children. Also ignorance about the existence of laws to the public has been instrumental hence lagging the effective implementation of ANPPCAN objectives.
There also challenged with limited funding from government in that more emphasise is on child health care like fighting Malaria, Polio among others and little is forwarded to stop child abuse.
ANPPCAN does advocacy work targeted to policy makers to steer the programmes into force like enacting laws to punish the culprits involved. Giving children skills in decision making, build confidence and creating awareness to the public is essential to be focused on, but it wonʼt be possible if there is no proper implementation of policies and law to enhance child rights.
There is need for law enforcers to deal with the aggressors without favouritism promoted by corruption, as well dealing with parents, Guardian or authorities who at times settle matters in the curtain intentioned to bribes given.
Protection of children is everyoneʼs responsibility, for a better Uganda, tomorrow and forever.
ANPPCAN Uganda chapter was established in 1992 being part of the continental Pan-African movement with offices along Kira Rd to advocate for the rights of children and it work with other NGOs like Uganda human rights commission (UHRC), FIDA (Uganda women lawyers association), and Media in the country.
Those abused are in the age bracket of 8-17 and cases ANPPCAN had taken action includes defilement maintenances, parental neglect, child starvation, indecent assault, abandoned, alleged child sacrifice and giving support to former child domestic workers like education.