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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.

 The draft Policy accentuates aspects of social inclusion and placing the family first. Its objective is harmonize national efforts to realize children’s right to survival, development, protection and participation. It sets out a number of goals which Uganda should achieve if child well-being is to improve. These include: centrality of the child; family first; social inclusion; addressing root causes of vulnerability and risk and a life-course approach to developmental risk and protection.

Speaking at the review of the draft policy during the breakfast meeting, Prof. Edward Kirumira, AfriChild’s board chairperson, said the policy can only function if help is provided to parents to better raise their children.  

“If parents better raise their children and invest in their future, children will be healthy, be better protected at home and in the community and attain quality education,” Kirumira said.

 “The best interests of children must be the primary concern in making decisions that affect them and parents must be supported and resourced to care for their children and ensure the fulfillment of their rights,” reads the policy in part.

The policy also provides a snapshot on the demographic situation of children in Uganda. For example in education, the retention and transition of children to higher levels has remained low, particularly for girls. About 33% of children who start primary school drop out before completing. On child protection, defilement remains a high risk accounting for nearly 10% of the crimes reported in Uganda.

During his address, Mondo Kyateka, the commissioner for Children and Youth in the Ministry of Gender called on the parliamentarians to include children’s need whenever creating a new law.

 

 

 

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