AFRICHILD HOME

RACHEAL NINSIIMA

It was all colour and happiness as Uganda launched its first ever report on the state of violence against children (VAC). The event happened at Imperial Royale on Thursday 9th August 2018. As various guests trickled in, the Kampiringisa children’s band filled the well-lit and decorated auditorium with sound from various instruments. Mondo Kyateka, the day’s emcee relentlessly treated the dignitaries to biting quotes related to violence against children. Among these dignitaries were: Joyce Wanican, Executive Director-AfriChild Centre; H.E. Deborah Malac, the US ambassador to Uganda; Noreen Prendville UNICEF’S Deputy Country Director and Hon. Rosemary Sseninde, the Minister of State for Primary Education, Hon. Janat Mukwaya Ministry of Gender Labor and Social Development, Hon. 

The survey describes the magnitude and nature of physical, sexual and emotional VAC; examines the health consequences of violence; identifies potential risk factors that predispose children to violence and assesses utilization of health services by survivors. Over 5000 respondents aged 13-17 and 18-24 were considered for the study.

GuestslistenintoapaneldiscussionduringthelaunchoftheVACreportThe findings are grim. For example, one in three girls in Uganda will be sexually abused before reaching the age of 18 and 85% of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way. Sexual violence conforms to different forms such as unwanted sexual touching, attempted forced sex and pressured sex. In regard to physical violence, more than half of Ugandan children experience physical violence between 6 -11 years. Physical violence in this case is described as punching, strangling, burning and whipping a child with an object.

Disturbingly, over 70% males and females do not seek health services because they do not think violence is a problem.

“As a ministry, we want to change the status quo of poor health seeking behavior. Therefore, we commit to increasing adolescent health services in the country; train health care workers on child friendly services and provide remedial services to survivors of childhood violence,” said Dr Jesca Nsungwa, the Commissioner for Child Health at the Ministry of Health.

She also said that parents and caregivers should be vigilant to recognize signs of child abuse such as unexplained cuts; fear of adults, nightmares, depression, anti-social behaviors and apathy.

In his remarks, Pius Bigirimana, the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Gender said that the VAC data would be used to plan for interventions that work and that his ministry would take lead.

The event comprised of a panel discussion made up of six representatives from government and civil society organizations such as ChildFund-Uganda and TPO-uganda. Lydia Wasula, the Orphans’ and other vulnerable children department coordinator in the Ministry of Gender stressed the need to have a cash grant for vulnerable children in Uganda.

The event ended on a high note with Hon. Janat Mukwaya, Uganda’s minister for Gender, officially launching the report. She urged child-protection players to involve the existing leadership structures at the local level in efforts to reduce violence against children.

“We have youth and local councils in our governance structures whom we can effectively utilize. Let us not leave them to deal with only land matters because they can ably address children’s issues too,” Hon Mukwaya said.

JoyceWanicanapprovestheVACSurveyreportbysigningoffonthedummyShe officially recognized Joyce Wanican, AfriChild’s Executive Director for the role she played in contributing to the research. AfriChild was the lead institution in data collection for the VAC study.

 This report follows a call in 2006 by Kofi Annan, the then U.N. Secretary General, for countries to collect data on child abuse in order to inform national policies. Other than Uganda, the other African countries that have released reports on VAC are: Kenya, Malawi, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.  

RACHEAL NINSIIMA

Between July 16 and 20 2018, staff of the AfriChild Centre were engaged in a financial management training conducted by Abubaker Mayanja Kakule, an external consultant. The robust training provided a prime opportunity to sharpen staffs knowledge and skills in best practices in financial management. Insights on several finance topics were shared and these include planning and budgeting; basic accounting systems; financial reporting; grant management and internal controls.

AbubakerKakuleExtremeRightconductsafinancetrainingwithAfriChildstaffUnder planning and budgeting, Kakule told staff they need to align the strategic plan with the chart of accounts, a list of accounts that an organization has. This is to ensure that the organization leverages resources for the different core program areas listed in its strategic plan and to achieve its mission and vision. He also said that to get the best out of planning and budgeting, finance and program staff should work together to prepare budgets. Additionally, annual budgets should be approved by the Board of Directors, the annual budget should further be broken down into monthly cash flow forecasts in order to facilitate its implementation. In basic accounting systems, Kakule enlightened staff on different supporting documents needed for payments. These include: bid documents, salary schedules, goods received note, vouchers, activity reports and local purchase orders (LPOs) among others.

“There is need to have a checklist of supporting document before any payment can be processed,   these should be in a standard template so that when it gets to authorization, it’s easier for someone to trace the history,” Kakule said.

For effective internal controls of finances, staff were advised to ensure that cash is kept safely in a locked cashbox; cash payments should be dully authorized  ; statutory deductions such as pay as you earn should be remitted timely and that all fixed assets   owned by the organization should be insured and their usage regulated  using a fixed assets register.  

The benefits from the training as reported by some of the employees were immense. Aisha Ndabalekera, a research assistant with the AfriChild said the training boosted her understanding and confidence in budget management and compliance. This confidence, she says, will enhance her overall performance to effectively manage grants.Kakuleholdingafileexplainstherightprocessoffilingdocumentsduringthetraining

Emmanuel Akuti, a capacity building assistant said the training enabled him to understand the linkages between AfriChild’s strategic plan and the day-to-day functioning of the Centre.

“For example, the training has enabled me to appreciate my role in implementation of the strategic plan and I believe this will enable me to work more efficiently,” says Akuti.

To crown the week-long training, Kakule conducted a financial health check of the Centre dubbed, ‘The Mango Health Check.’ This check uses a self-assessment tool designed to help organizations gauge the effectiveness of their financial management system. AfriChild was assessed on all the key financial areas such as planning and budgeting; grant management and financial reporting that were found to be at a low risk. Arising out of the meeting were several ideas for action as highlighted below.

Action Plan

  • There is need for the AfriChild to ensure data security through investing in cloud storage.
  • For every activity that is implemented, the programs team should keep records in form of reports to ease the accountability process.
  • AfriChild should submit substantive progress reports to its donors every three months and keep communication open with them (donors) during project implementation.
  • For every new grant that the Centre acquires, there is need to have start-up meetings to discuss grant requirements.
  • To check the financial health of the organization, there is need to run the mango health check at least once every quarter.

RACHEAL NINSIIMA

 

Participantsofthesecondinteruniversitytrainingtakeagroupphoto

The Centre for the study of the African Child (Africhild) has awarded grants to seven Ugandan universities to conduct child-focused research, publish and disseminate their findings. The universities that have been awarded are: Muni; Makerere; Uganda Christian University; Uganda Martyrs University; Kyambogo; Gulu and Nsamizi Institute of Social Development. Africhild has awarded each university UGX 20M for the research activity whose implementation starts July 1 2018 to March 31 2019.

This grants offer comes at the heels of two trainings of university lecturers in child-focused research. The first workshop was conducted between January 22 to February 2nd 2018. The second workshop was held between 18 and 29th June 2018. Participants received training in data entry and analysis modules and grants writing from a team of expert trainers including Prof. Fred Wabwire-Mangen and Dr. Siu Godfrey of Makerere University and Prof. Rosalind Lubanga of Nsamizi Institute. The second training was mostly characterized by group works where participants refined their research proposals that are to be funded.

Some of the researches to be undertaken by each university are:

  • Menstrual hygiene knowledge, attitudes and practices in primary schools in Mukono district: A girl child’s perspective. (Uganda Christian University-Mukono)
  • Children’s experiences and perspectives on parental and community involvement in their schooling. (Makerere University).
  • Examining household socio-economic status and parenting styles on adolescent development (Gulu University).
  • Rights based approach to HIV/AIDS prevention and service utilization by adolescents in Iganga district (Nsamizi Training Institute).

DrKennethOlidoconductsatrainingsessionduringthesecondinteruniversityresearchmethodstrainingIt is envisioned that research findings from the studies done are expected to shape national policies aimed at improving children’s lives such as the National Children Policy which is being reviewed. This policy is expected to replace the existing National Policy on Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children in Uganda.

Joyce Wanican, the Executive Director of the AfriChild Centre says the trainings are significant because it equips university faculty with professional knowledge and skills to enable them conduct child-focused research.

“Articles on child-focused research that will be published by the trained cohort will go a long way in adding to the existing body of knowledge and shape child-focused research in the region,” she says.

Additionally, in order to foster a culture of conducting child focused research, Wanican advises university lecturers to develop open and collaborative relationships among faculty members and to develop partnerships with other universities in order to expand research opportunities. The AfriChild Centre will conduct the third training of university lecturers in January 2019 in a bid to continue reskilling them to carry out child-focused research.

RACHEAL NINSIIMA 

For its inaugural conference on the family held between May 21 and 22 2018 at Uganda Christian University-Mukono; the AfriChild Centre proudly knotted many a milestone. This conference was purposefully designed to celebrate and affirm the declaration of 2017 and 2018 as the year of the family in Uganda. It was held under the theme: ‘The Family in the 21st Century: Strong? In Crisis? Changing? What is the future of this foundational unit of life in the community and nation?’

HonJanetMusevenispeakstoparticipantsduringtheopeningceremonyoftheconferenceThe conference’s objective was to provide a platform for discussion among key stakeholders such as religious, cultural and political leaders on how to mainstream family issues at policy levels. AfriChild Centre financed the conference to a tune of Shs.127 million.

The conference was opened by Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni, the first lady of Uganda and Minister of Education and Sports. Mrs. Museveni told the over 500 participants present that the challenge confronting us today was defining what an African family is.

“We have adopted too much of western ideals that they have muddied what families are. I look forward to the outcome of this conference and it’s my prayer that we come up with guidelines of what a true family should be,” said Mrs. Museveni.

Among the day’s key speakers was Mrs. Margaret Kakande, AfriChild’s board chairperson who urged participants to prioritize education for their children. To her, investing in a child’s education is equivalent to investing in his or her future. She also encouraged parents to harness strong parent-teacher relationships in order to create a shared responsibility towards the child.

“Communicate regularly with the teachers in order to gain insights into your child’s behavior and progress. From this, you can identify how to better support your child’s development at home,” she urged participants.

In his keynote address, Prof. Sam Luboga recommended that parents ought to develop lasting bonds with their children through communicating encouragement, praying witParticipantslistenintoapresentationfromProfAdamsh them, eating at least one meal with them daily and spending time with them.

Other key speakers at this forum include Prof. Mwambutsya Ndebesa- a renowned academician; Ms. Emily Ajambo from the ministry of Gender and Hon. Peace Mutuuzo, the state minister for gender.

Day two of the conference had several paper presentations from various participants. Key topics of discussion included: marital rape and the law; capitalism and its effect on families and changing family support towards elderly persons.

Key outcomes of the Conference:

With the completion of the conference, a communique on the way forward and will be disseminated widely among key stakeholders.

Racheal Ninsiima

Between January 22 – February 2, 2018, the Centre for the Study of the African Child (AfriChild) trained 40 university staff from seven Ugandan universities on tenants of child-focused research and grants writing.

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The participating universities were: Makerere; Kyambogo; Gulu; Muni; Uganda Christian University; Uganda Martyrs University and Nsamizi Training Institute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The training, held at Uganda Christian University was conducted by four renowned academic researchers: Prof. Fred Wabwire-Mangen (MUSPH); Rev. Fr. Dr. Odubuker Picho Epiphany (Muni University); Prof. Anne Katahoire (Makerere University) and Prof. Peter Ubomba-Jaswa (UCU-Mukono).

From November 6-22, 2017, the Centre for the study of the African Child (AfriChild) engaged district leaders countrywide in meetings where it disseminated findings from the national violence against children survey. The survey, undertaken in 2015, set out to determine the magnitude of violence against children aged 13-17; health consequences of violence and to utilization of services by victims. A total of 5, 803 children were interviewed.    

  These meetings were held in nine districts namely: Masaka, Mbarara, FortPortal, Arua, Lira, Soroti, Mbale, Jinja and Mukono. They were officiated by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD). 

“Our role as the AfriChild Centre is to do research on everything that affects a child in order to inform policies and programs which improve the wellbeing of children. We welcome your partnership as district leaders to join the struggle to end violence against children,” said Joyce Wanican, the executive director of the AfriChild Centre.

KEY FINDINGS

The survey findings indicate that more than one in three females (35%) and one in six males (17%) have experienced sexual violence in childhood, with over 80 per cent of these experiencing more than one incident of sexual violence. Sexual violence was defined as unwanted sexual touching, attempted forced sex, forced sex and pressured sex.

 

RACHEAL NINSIIMA

On July 20, the AfriChild Centre together with Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development organized an MP’s breakfast meeting to review the draft national child policy.  

The policy aims to replace the Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children (OVC) policy which has existed for 12 years. This is because emerging trends in children’s issues such as protection necessitate a policy that responds to all these issues in a comprehensive way rather than orphans only.

“Often, it is not so much the kind of person a man is as the kind of situation in which he finds himself that determines how he will act,” wrote Stanely Milgram in his famous book ‘Obedience to Authority.’ This saying is true for hundreds of girls in Kiyindi fishing village in Buikwe district who are being coerced into prostitution by members of their own families and communities. This puts many children at a risk of sexual diseases and early pregnancy as a result of unprotected sex.

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