By Vivian Agaba
To curb the continuous movement of children from their respective homes to city streets, Civil Society Organizations have asked Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) to quickly enact laws stopping the public from giving handouts to street children.
Anslem Wandega, executive director, African Network for the prevention and protection against child abuse and neglect (ANPPCAN-Uganda) said children and some women continue to trek city streets because they are motivated by handouts they get from people.
“Some of these children and families that come to the streets are motivated by a handout they get from the public and that is why some of them come back to the streets even after being reintegrated back to their families. We call upon KCCA to enact ordinances stopping the giving of handouts to these children and by this, we will curb the trafficking of children for economic exploitation,” said Wandega.
He was speaking during a public dialogue to commemorate the International day for street children whose theme was ‘If the world was listening, what would you say?’
The event that took place at Ghogm grounds, near parliament in Kampala on Friday brought together a big number of former street children who shared their sad stories about the life on streets.
Busulwa, 12, former street kid said life at the streets is not a conducive atmosphere for a child to grow up and claimed that at times, KCCA enforcement officers would at times ambush them, wrap them in sacks and take them to Kampiringisa.
Harriet Mudondo, director gender community and production KCCA, said KCCA has put in place strategies to ensure there are no more children on the streets.
“One of our strategies will be to sensitize the general public about the dangers of a child living on the street so that the public stops giving them money because that is one of the reasons street children do not want to go back home,” said Mudondo.
She added that KCCA is going to increase patrolling of the streets as another strategy to ensure that no child is on the streets because it is illegal and not safe for any child as this exposes them to dangers like defilement, kidnap and child sacrifice.
Commenting on the issue of wrapping children in sacks, she said she was not aware about it but said when the enforcement officers are trying to get street children off the streets, some of them put up a lot of resistance wanting to fight the officers and that is when the kids are handled somehow aggressively.