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CSOs ask govt to increase investment in children

By Edward Kayiwa

Added 3rd December 2019 04:28 PM

The CSOs said although the country has made significant strides in education and health, there are still glaring gaps that need to be fixed to ensure that children are learning, protected from harm, and are able to live a healthy life.

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The CSOs said although the country has made significant strides in education and health, there are still glaring gaps that need to be fixed to ensure that children are learning, protected from harm, and are able to live a healthy life.

Civil Society Organisations have asked the government to increase its investment in children, to guarantee the quality of future human resources for the country and to also foster equitable growth and development.

The CSOs said although the country has made significant strides in education and health, there are still glaring gaps that need to be fixed to ensure that children are learning, protected from harm, and are able to live a healthy life.

Patrick Tumwebaze, Executive Director, Uganda Debt Network said in the current budget, for instance, allocations in the health and education ministries increased, but the allocation for children in both ministries is almost insignificant.

“This is below the Abuja declaration, and therefore, we need to increase it. So many children below 5 years are suffering from the killer diseases, and we need the budget to speak to this,” he said, during celebrations to mark 30 years of the convention of the rights of children, at Hotel Africana.

He said it does not make sense for the government to invest extensively in infrastructure development, while those who would use the infrastructure in the future are not empowered to effectively take advantage of it.

According to the National Planning Authority (NPA), approximately 8.1 million children are unprivileged and deprived, while about 43% are considered vulnerable.

Save the Children’s Dun McDonald said:” in terms of education children keep dropping out before they finish primary school, the classrooms are overcrowded, and there aren’t enough teachers. The investment in primary schools isn’t enough.”

He said of late they have noticed a worrying trend where the investment in education as a percentage of the national budget is increasingly going down, falling to 10.4% which is far below the 16% Africa average.

He said in terms of child protection, he said Nwoya district alone has 69% child marriage rate, meaning that out of every 10 girls 7 have been married young.

According to the coordinator, advocacy and campaign, save the children, Agnes Kyesubire, government should increase its funding towards the police family unit, to strengthen its function and response to child protection.

She said the government should also increase its allocation to the social protection sector especially at the local governments’ level, to allow follow up on child marriage cases and ensure that there are preventive measures in place.

She said Uganda is ranked number 16 in Africa on child marriage, with 59% children given in marriage, meaning therefore, that children are not safe.

“The government has put in place a strategy top end child marriage, and it is a very good document which if implemented would prevent all this child marriages. It is therefore our call that government in the next budget puts money for implementation of this strategy,” she said.

 

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