Tuesday, 4 October 2011
In spite of concerted effort by different stakeholders to fight child abuse, the vice remains a major challenge to the local authorities in Kasese District, child rights activists have observed. Between 10 and 20 cases are recorded by police in the district everyday.
The police officer in charge of child and family protection unit, Ms Zebia Kabugho, says they receive cases of defilement, missing children, child neglect and mother failure to declare the rightful fathers to their children.
Since police and other stake holders have not been able to identify all sorts of abuses committed against the children, a non-governmental organisation has come up with a new project aimed at providing a platform for children to air their views on problems affecting them.
The platform called “Child rights integrated programme” under the section of child rights governance, aims at alerting members of the community to take action on major child rights violations in the district.
Mr Bright Antony Malere, the programmes officer at African Network for the Prevention and Protection Against Children Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN), says because of so many unreported cases of child abuse cases in schools and villages, the NGO has been forced to introduce the children council.
This council is mandated to monitor child rights violations in the district and hold regular meetings to disseminate their findings. From August 2010 to July this year, ANPPCAN settled more than 232 child abuse-related cases committed in Kasese.
This council is composed of district officials and 12 committee members from each of the 12 schools in the six sub-counties counties where the project is implemented.
Mr Ronald Makewo, a parent of Nyabugando Primary School, said the child rights committee at their school has helped stop corporal punishment by reporting the teachers to the authorities.
According to Makewo, defilement cases have also reduced because the club has publically exposed such teachers. Ms Ritah Ntegyerize, the children programme officer Save the Children - Uganda that funds the project through Anppcan asked the children to report any crimes to the council. “You too can do something and cause a change,” she added.