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RACHEAL NINSIIMA

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).

It 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?’

The 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 with 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.

RACHEAL NINSIIMA 

A new research by the AfriChild Center in Makerere University has suggested a relationship between parenting practices and child wellbeing. The research titled: ‘Uganda Households: A study of parenting practices in three districts’ was designed to identify community perceptions of protective and harmful parenting practices. It was conducted in Kampala, Ibanda and Lira districts and involved 360 adults and child participants. Child participants were aged eight to 12 years whereas caregivers were aged 18 and above, and cared for at least one child between zero and eight years old.

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