By Gloria Nakajubi
Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development is part of the four countries to benefit from a regional project that will see a revamp of community-based child protection systems.
The over $200000 (approximately sh500m) funding from USAID is meant to facilitate pilot activities in selected districts in the four countries of Uganda, Kenya, Swaziland and Tanzania for a period of six months.
This comes just a few days ago after a nine-year old girl, Hanisha Nambi, was raped and killed in Kyebando, a Kampala surburb. One among many other cases of child abuse that go on in the country never get to the authorities.
The project, which will be implemented by African Network for Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANNPCAN), a local Child advocacy organisation, will target the slum areas where the rate of child abuse is higher.
This will target families, religious and cultural leaders and the general public in fighting child abuse.
James Sembatya Kabogozza, assistant comissioner for children at the Ministry, said this intervention will help develop the informal child protection mechanisms so that they can contribute to the fight against child abuse.
He noted that the project will enable government identify gaps in the existing systems and involve the community to come up with interventions that can be sustainable and manageable by the people themselves.
“If you make the community aware of what to do, they will become more effective and you will be amazed at the results and based on this, we believe the fight against child abuse can be best fought by the people around the children,” said Kabogozza.
This was revealed during a presentation workshop on the synthesis report on community-based child protection mechanisms from the four countries in Kampala Wednesday.
The report highlights the use of culture and religion as justifications for certain acts of child abuse in all the four countries.
More so ignorance among the population that some people do not actually know that they are committing acts of abuse to the children.
Anslem Wandega, director ANNPCAN said the project will use the existing structures and build on them to be more effective in addressing issues of child abuse.
He explained that the project aims at creating a link between the informal and formal systems so that information can easily flow and timely feedback given to the people.
“We are going to basically carry out community conversations and come up with plans which shall be presented to policy makers and other authorities for implementation,” said Wandega.
It was also revealed that a child helpline of 116 will soon be launched which will ease the reporting process on children issues.