Areas of Implementation: Kabarole, Kyenjojo and Bundibugyo Districts
Period: 2012 to 2014
Funder: The Finnish NGO Foundation for Human Rights - KIOS
Emerging from the devastation of civil war in the 1970s and 1980s, Uganda has made significant steps in economic and social development yet still faces major challenges.
Ugandan families and communities struggle to access healthcare, education and other basic services, and young children often suffer disproportionately.
While it has won praise for its fight against HIV/AIDS, Uganda still reports increasing violence against children due to wars involving the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) in the North and the Allied Democratic Front (ADF) in the West. Uganda also has the highest proportion of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS worldwide, and many children are born in poverty.
Other forms of violence against children in Uganda include child marriage, child sacrifice, child trafficking, child labour, child commercial sex exploitation, and corporal punishment. There is a great need for more community-based awareness and response to protect children from violence and to ensure them the right to realize their full potential.
Though measures have been taken to curb these injustices—such as progressive legislation including a penal code amendment, a judicature act, a trafficking-in-person act, and the establishment of a police, family and child protection unit—violence against children has remained stubbornly high.
The report Violence Against Children: The Voices of Ugandan Children and Adults, issued by Raising Voices and Save the Children in 2005, documents large numbers of children describing the rampant use of violence against them. More than 98% of children surveyed reported experiencing physical or emotional violence; 75.8% reported experiencing sexual violence; and 74.4% reported experiencing economic violence. For each form of violence, a significant percentage of children reported experiencing violence at least once a week or more.
Joy for Children-Uganda (JFCU) is implementing a community-based response approach in Kabarole, Kyenjojo, and Bundibugyo districts to prevent violence against children. Activities include raising awareness in communities, training local leaders, establishing child support groups, training child counselors, publishing learning materials, and supporting the creation of violent-free schools.