Monday, December 9, 2013



Education is the right of all children, as well as crucial factor facilitating the sustainable development of a nation. Girls' education has a direct impact on reducing gender discrimination and inequality in society, and has a powerful influence on child and maternal survival. Early stimulation and learning opportunities give children a head start and lay a strong foundation for the holistic development of an individual.
The constitution of Uganda explicitly recognizes the right of all citizens to basic education. Subsequently policy positions such as vision 2025, the Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) 2004-2015 and the Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP) 2004/2005-2007/2008 recognize education as a core element of any attempt to fight poverty. The education components of national plans are consistent with the Education for all (EFA) goals, the World Fit for children targets and the Millennium Declaration and Development Goals (MDGs). Despite of all these attainment of meaningful education in Sub-Saharan African remains a big challenge.
This programmes aims at improving education by constructing new schools in areas where accessibility is a challenge, renovating and proving others, providing the badly needed furniture, text books and other scholastic material geared at creating a conducive learning environment and to influence government policies that have a direct bearing on children's education.

Child Headed Households

Child Headed Households

This is an emerging concept and a huge challenge in the development process.
These families are more evident in rural areas especially in the Sub-Saharan African resulting from the death of parents due to HIV/AIDS. After the death of parents, culturally children are left with close relative to look after them. Since HIV/AIDS has mainly affected young energetic men and women, most children are left in the hands of the aging grand parents who can not provide them with the basic necessities of life.

Child Marriages

Child Marriages

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A promise to girls: It is time we came together and took concrete action to end the grave injustice of child marriage

Ela Bhatt & DESMOND TUTU Oct 11, 2012

Today is our human family's first-ever International Day of the Girl.

This is a day to celebrate the fact that it is girls who will change the world; that the empowerment of girls holds the key to development and security for families, communities and societies worldwide. It also re-cognises the discrimination and violence that girls disproportionately endure - and it is especially important that one of the cruellest hardships to befall girls, child marriage, should be the UN's chosen theme for this inaugural day.

The marriage of adolescent girls, sometimes to much older men, sums up much of the harm, injustice and stolen potential that afflict so many girls around the world.

Ten million girls under the age of 18 are married off every year with little or no say in the matter. That's 100 million girls in the next decade. Their parents may feel they are doing the right thing to protect their daughters, but in reality these brides will be vulnerable to ill health, violence, inadequate education and poverty - as will their children.

Imagine, instead, the wonderful force we would unleash if these girls could be spared such a life.
They would be more likely to stay in school. Studies have shown that when girls stay longer in primary school, they earn wages up to 10 to 20% higher in their adult lives. As they get older, the differences in earnings are even more encouraging: for every extra year in secondary school, they can earn up to 25% more in adulthood.

These girls would also be more likely to be healthy, and less likely to contract diseases such as HIV/AIDS than married girls of the same age. And when these girls grow up and eventually start families of their own, we know that these women won't let their daughters marry as children. Child marriage could cease to exist with their generation.

Today, we have the opportu-nity to enshrine such a global pledge to end child marriage.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), international targets set at the turn of the century, proved it was possible to think, and to act, on the largest of scales: halving extreme poverty, halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education are some of its objectives, all by the target date of 2015. Unlike many international commitments, the MDGs are still remembered years later, and helped galvanise unprecedented efforts by governments.
But this progress will be stunted if we fail to address injustices as staggering, persistent and widespread as child marriage. As our leaders begin the process of preparing new development goals to succeed the MDGs, the persistence of child marriage should be seen as one of the major barriers to the well-being of our human family.

Too often, child marriage is justified on the basis of custom or tradition. While traditions often serve to bind societies together, we also want to point out that traditions are man-made. If we learn that they are harmful, we should change them.

In our travels as Elders - a group of independent leaders working for peace, justice and human rights - in Asia and Africa, we have met brave girls and boys who do not hesitate to stand up to tradition and say no to child marriage. In Bihar, a state where nearly 70% of girls marry before they turn 18 (contrary to national law), we met admirable young people who were signing pledges not to marry before 18. In Amhara, a region in northern Ethiopia, where the most common age for a girl to marry is 12, we visited girls who participated in workshops to discuss collectively the benefits of ending child marriage.

These meetings convinced us that there is a real need to connect groups around the world, enable them to work together and help to end this practice. This led to the creation, last year, of Girls Not Brides, a global partnership of organisations dedicated to stopping the practice, with a membership now growing in the hundreds.

We believe that an international consensus on the need to end child marriage is within sight. When we created Girls Not Brides in 2011, we committed to ending child marriage in one generation. Why not, then, pledge the elimination of this harmful practice by 2030?

Development targets to improve global health, education and gender equality would also be tackled by a pledge to end this devastating practice. And generation after generation, girls would be able to fulfil their potential and bless their daughters to do the same.
On this inaugural Day of the Girl, we call on the international community to promise a different life to those girls - a life of their choosing.

Ela Bhatt is the founder of the Self-Employed Women's Association, India, and Desmond Tutu is archbishop emeritus of Cape Town and a Nobel peace prize laureate.

Monday, September 24, 2012


Published in the NEW VISION, Kampala, Monday, September 24, 2012. Pg 16.
 By Caroline Sanyu Nakalyango

In July, I wrote an article entitled: What is the plight of child mothers? In it, I expressed concern about the worrying number of girls getting pregnant in primary schools.

According to the Ugandan Annual Crime and Traffic/Road Safety Report 2011, a total of 7,690 cases of defilement were reported in 2011. However, only 3,836 suspects were arrested and taken to court. This implies that over 50% of defilement cases were dropped.

Parents negotiate with defilers of their children for bride price. It is absurd these parents value wealth and property more than their children’s health and lives.

Last week, a story about a 12-year -old mother was published. It is a pity that this girl was defiled by a 24 –year-old man who in turn gave the girl’s father a cow to silence the crime.
If this girl was not discovered by the community, she would either have lost her life while delivering or the baby’s since she is too young to have a normal birth. This is because her parents had decided to keep the child’s pregnancy a secret. The girl’s life was rescued by the community and indeed she is one in a million. Many of her kind have not been so lucky and have lost their lives just because their parents chose to negotiate with their tormentors.

A number of girls have been defiled and infected with HIV/AIDS and other STIs. This is because their parents decide to side with criminals. As a result most of the victims have damaged their uterus and this puts them at a risk of becoming barren for the rest of their lives.

Defilement is the biggest form of child sexual abuse and there is urgent need to exterminate this vice.
The Children’s Act Cap 59 states the rights of children but does not mention what has to be done for children that have been abused. These gaps have to be filled so as for the law to be more felt. This way our children will be less abused. Parents should not negotiate with defilers as they compromise their children’s health. The community should always report cases of child abuse to the authorities.

Thursday, September 20, 2012



The New Vision, Thursday, June, 28, 2012 ran a story urging parents to support the Government campaign against child labour. This is evident in Kiryandongo and Masindi districts where children at primary school level are being employed as labourers on the tobacco fields. Child labour is a hindrance to children’s education as they almost become comfortable with the little wages they get from the tobacco field owners hence totally give up on Education. Often time’s children have been exposed to the labour market even as early as 13 years. Young girls are brought from the rural areas to come and work as nannies and house keepers in the city. You find a child of school going age taking care of a toddler at home. It is no news that some of these children are being sexually harassed by their employers who in turn pay them some little money for their silence. This is how some of these children are introduced to prostitution hence increasing the spread of HIV. Recently in New Vision a catholic priest defiled a girl who occasionally had been sent by her parents to help the priest with domestic work. Another story is that of Judith, a 14 year old who was about to be defiled by her boss but managed to fight him off and obviously she lost her job at the man’s residence. Young boys too are exploited and work on empty stomachs. After a heavy day’s work, they go away without a single payment. Children that are employed in tobacco‐growing areas are in jeopardy of adopting the vice of smocking which will pilot to poor health in future. Smocking leads to cancer which is a very dangerous disease and hard to be treated. The fact that children are exposed to the labour market reduces their need to be in school as they see it a waste of time. This alone will hinder the government programmes from progressing. Especially on the Education for all children in the country. Parents are therefore called upon to support the government campaign against child labour. They should not send their children to work especially girls as they stand a high chance of being defiled, getting pregnant and infected with HIV/AIDS that has no cure‐Children should be encouraged by their parents to go to school after all education at both primary and secondary level is free to all children in Uganda. In this way they are able to attain basic education and plan for a better future with the knowledge and skills they attain from school. The country needs very intelligent people that can plan for its development. This can not be achieved if children of the nation are Uneducated, exploited as child labourers on plantation farms and are sexually abused by their employers who infect them with the Pandemic.

PUBLISHED IN THE NEW VISION, Tuesday, July 10, 2012