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Gender ministry backs KCCA on handouts to street kids

By Faith Amongin

Added 7th June 2019 08:34 AM

Once passed into law, anybody found engaging street children in harmful employment will be imprisoned for six months or pay a fine of two currency points (about sh40,000). A currency point is equivalent to sh20,000.

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Street children begging for money from car occupants along Jinja road on Thursday June 6, 2019. Photos by Mpalanyi Ssentongo

Once passed into law, anybody found engaging street children in harmful employment will be imprisoned for six months or pay a fine of two currency points (about sh40,000). A currency point is equivalent to sh20,000.

CRIME  

KAMPALA - Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development has joined the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) to enforce a law prohibiting individuals from giving money to street children.

Minister for Youth and Children Affairs Florence Nakiwala announced on Thursday that the ministry would be part of an inter-agency team comprising several other ministries and agencies implementing the ordinance.

The KCCA Child Protection Ordinance 2019 is intended to protect children in Kampala from engaging in harmful activities, such as selling alcohol, which is not covered by the current legislation.

Once passed into law, anybody found engaging street children in harmful employment will be imprisoned for six months or pay a fine of two currency points (about sh40,000). A currency point is equivalent to sh20,000.

“If we embark on this, it will be hard for these children to survive on the streets otherwise continuous giving them of handouts will only encourage them to keep on the streets,” she said.

The minister made the remarks while launching an operation to resettle street children that starts tomorrow Friday at two rehabilitation sites in Kampala and Wakiso districts.

The number of children on the streets stands at 15,000 according to records from the gender ministry.

 inister of tate for outh and hildren ffairs lorence akiwala iyingi addressing the media on measures being taken to address the street children challenge in ganda his was at the inistry of ender abour and ocial evelopment on hursday une 62019 Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs, Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi addressing the media on measures being taken to address the street children challenge in Uganda. This was at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development on Thursday, June 6, 2019.

 
Nakiwala, however, informed the media that the gender ministry in partnership with the ministry of internal affairs and KCCA were been able to withdraw, rehabilitate and resettle up to 8,070 children in the past operations.

“This exercise has not been consistent and so the number of children on the streets has kept building up whenever there is a break in the exercise, but with the recently approved allocation, I’m positive that we will yield results this time around,” she said.

Nakiwala, however, noted that the success of this exercise highly depends on the cooperation of the public and local governments.

Parliament recently approved the sh3.4b supplementary budget for the gender ministry to handle the phenomenon of street children across the country.

The minister said that with the increased funding in the cause, they are hopeful that this will cease to be a problem.

  woman gives money to a street kid along inja oad A woman gives money to a street kid along Jinja Road

 
Relatedly, the traffic police boss Stephen Kasiima said street children have become a problem on the roads as they often interfere and slow down traffic thus the need to be evacuated from the streets as soon as possible.

“They have scratched people’s vehicles and they become violent especially at night and some have actually graduated into criminals, so this problem needs to be dealt with urgently,” he said.

Kasima said with the help of the CCTV, they will be able to identify the spots where the street children dwell and then take action with the help of the Kampala Metropolitan Police.

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