The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development today convened the first of five inter-agency meetings aimed at providing oversight to The AfriChild Centre as they conduct two landmark studies that will be used to inform national policy on community-based child protection interventions and utilization of national violence against children (VACs) data.
The expert committee comprises members from the Ministry of Gender, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Internal Affairs (Child and Family Protection Unit), Uganda Bureau of Statistics, National Child Authority, and the National Child Protection Working Group.
Speaking at the meeting, Fred Ngabirano, Commissioner Youth and Children Affairs noted that the expert committee was constituted in line with the new Uganda National Child Policy 2020. The policy was developed to coordinate the efforts of the different sectors that have a direct and indirect mandate on children and deliver a comprehensive package of services encompassing all the four cardinal rights of the child (to survival, development, protection and participation) in a multi-sectoral approach.
“Under the new Child Policy, we are not working as individual ministries but collectively as Government to deliver. The studies AfriChild is conducting will not only inform the Ministry of Gender but different partners and the entire country,” The Commissioner said.
He noted that AfriChild is a close ally of the Ministry and thanked the Centre for the immense contribution they made towards the development of the new child policy and in the field of child-focused research.
“As a ministry, we want credible data on top of data from Uganda Bureau of Statistic (UBOS) that can help the ministry make informed decisions, conduct evidence-based advocacy, and for policy implementation. We thank AfriChild for the support to the Ministry and when it came to implementation of the National Child Policy, we brought the Centre on the steering committee.”
The two studies to be conducted by AfriChild are; Measuring the impact and sustainability of the community-based child protection approach in the prevention of violence against children in a post-conflict setting in northern Uganda funded by the Evaluation Fund and the second study is Household economic status, sexual violence, and utilization of services among adolescents aged 13-17 years funded by Together for Girls.
Speaking at the meeting, Clare Bangirana, Director of Research, and Knowledge Development at AfriChild, noted that under the study supported by the Evaluation Fund, AfriChild wants to find out what works and if the interventions can be sustained.
“We want to know whether when communities are energized and mobilized to take collective action, these actions are sustainable. As researchers, we want to learn from the intervention implemented and work with the expert team to influence policy and programs at community and national level.”
Lydia Wasula, Head of the National Child Wellbeing Unit at MGLSD noted that this is a novel project in terms of project design in the country.
“This is the first kind of study that is trying to measure impact. We are all crying of sustainability when it comes to child protection interventions,” she noted.
Under the second study, AfriChild builds the capacity of local researchers to analyse the VACs research data. Research fellows are currently developing research papers from the data to be disseminated for uptake by different line ministries, agencies, and CSOs.