Our Projects | Uganda
In Uganda, we work with a local organisation called SAFE - Strategic Action For the Eradication of Child Abuse - who are based on the outskirts of Kampala, the country's capital city.
The re-settlement of people after the civil unrest in the north and the influx of refugees from neighbouring South Sudan, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo are stretching Ugandan resources; UNHCR states that Uganda currently hosts more than 150,000 refugees of whom 40,000 live in Kampala. Of the 55,600 refugee children of school age, only 45% are in school.
This is leading to a concern about the growing number of street children in Kampala and the rising numbers of instances of child abuse. The day is a long one for street children. It begins as early as 4am and is spent rummaging through skips of rubbish, waiting at the abattoir for scraps of meat, collecting old bottles and scrap metal to sell - anything to find food. Street Children are often recruited into gangs and are subject to harassment, neglect, exploitation and rape.
SAFE has several objectives to address these issues:
- To establish SAFE Transit model homes to house abused children in emergency situations who are in need of urgent care and protection while investigations are being undertaken.
- To educate children and members of the public about the different types of child abuse and the law.
- To lobby the government for a joint child protection investigation strategy, well articulated child protection.
- Establish networks to provide basic training for all involved in the child protection work and to ensure that they understand the task.
SAFE made great progress against their objectives with the following developments being made:
- The SAFE Transit home has welcomed its first residents, starting with four children - one of whom was reunited with his parents after 2 weeks.
- The SAFE offices have opened a drop-in centre for children and parents to provide a forum for discussing abuse.
- Their next step is to pilot a rapid response team with police officers at Old Kampala Police Station where a good working relationship has been established.
On an ongoing basis, SAFE also holds awareness forums in schools as well as recording talkshows for local TV and radio stations. They have a planned campaign to visit schools, churches, mosques and other places where children congregate with the aim of dealing with - and preventing - child abuse.