By Pascal Kwesiga
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) have launched a partnership to boost the Invest in UG children campaign to contribute to government’s efforts to produce a human resource capable to deliver the Vision 2040.
The PSFU and UNICEF launched the partnership Wednesday to raise and complain for increased government funding to child development and protection programs and encourage businesses to integrate child protection and nurturing interventions in their corporate social responsibility programs.
Gideon Bagadawa, the PSFU executive director, noted that Uganda cannot achieve Vision 2040 without investing in children’s development and pursuing policies that will promote better health care, nutrition, education, combat violence and abuse against children and proper child upbringing.
United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund Representative Aida Girma during launch of the strategic Partnership between UNICEF and Private Sector Foundation Uganda at UNICEF Offices on September 3, 2014. Photo/Mary Kansiime
Speaking at the launch ceremony at UNICEF offices in Kampala, Bagadawa explained that the Vision 2040 that the private sector participated in developing recognizes children as major contributors to the transformation of Uganda from a low income country to a middle class and prosperous nation in the next 26 years.
This, he observed can only be achieved if the government, private sector and development partners take steps to nurture and develop the children that constitute about 20 million of Uganda’s population into an educated and skilled human resource.
“We (private sector) are and will be the major employers of these children in the next 30 years and beyond. The Government can only employ about 700,000 currently. This means the private sector has to play a more active role now to nurture and develop a relevant human resource capital,” Bagadawa explained.
One of the fundamentals of Vision 2040, he noted, is to develop a strong private sector as a pathway to prosperity.
“But the private sector will not do this alone. We need a skilled human resource and a labour force that can measure up to the task,” Bagadawa added.
The UNICEF’s Invest in UG children campaign communications officer, Jaya Murthy, said activities that will be executed under the campaign will depend on the sort of partners it will attract.
The PSFU executive director appealed to the private sector players to embrace the campaign saying that research studies have shown that for every $1 invested in children $6 are reaped.
“There is a high return to investment in children. We built day care centers and supported schools and families in Apac, Nakapiripiriti and Kumi districts under previous campaigns but this time we want to run the campaign throughout the country,” he added.
The UNICEF country representative, Aida Girma, noted that the partnership marked the beginning of their robust partnership with the Uganda’s private sector to ensure children’s lives, especially those that are most deprived of their rights and those living in poverty are protected.
“We have a rich history of working closely with business or corporate sector to improve the well-being of children of children. We are proud to be launching this partnership in Uganda,” she said.
The partnership, Girma, noted seeks to promote business practices that comply with the observance of children’s rights and identifying lasting contributions towards improving the lives of Ugandan children.
“We will be jointly advocating for greater public and private investments in children especially in the area of early childhood development. We want today’s children to be nurtured to grow into a strong, healthy and productive work force that will drive social economic development,” she added.
She noted that if greater and smarter investments in children are not pursued Uganda’s Vision 2040 will be compromised.