Empowering Citizens for Proactive Action on Children Rights Protection.

Human Rights Problems the project was out to address:

The project was out to address a number of human rights abuses with a focus on empowering communities for child protection in each of the 5 selected sub counties of Rakai and Lyantonde respectively. Due to high levels of illiteracy in the aforementioned districts many members of the community were not aware of the policy and legal frameworks as well as rights of children, women and persons with disabilities. In the two districts there were many cases of child abuse which included; child starvation, rape and defilement, child abandonment / neglect, body harm, and domestic violence, forced early marriages, child labour among others. People purportedly helping orphans and vulnerable children were deliberately abusing them out of ignorance.

Other children suffered from indirect abuse through over drinking, ritual activities in shrines, domestic conflicts, and sometimes negligence. There was inadequate facilitation of law enforcing agencies, lack of public awareness on children's laws and rights (Children statute 2004), culture that promotes early marriages, children fear to open up and provide information to relevant authorities, lack of custody place for children offenders and its because of this that some children have ended up being locked up in cells of adults. In addition, orphans and widows property was grabbed leaving them with almost nothing to take care of them. The limited knowledge on child related legal laws especially those related to sexual abuse and early marriages had rendered some of the structures for delivering juvenile justice ineffective. Orphans and vulnerable children were also subjected to a lot of domestic chores, were less fed, and their health was not properly catered for. These children were prone to being traded off as house girls and house boys or to enter the labour market on their own early in life. The project targeted AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children, victims of human rights abuses, women and girls, and people affected by HIV and AIDS. The project had remarkable achievements in empowering communities and reducing actions that put children at the risk of abuse. Reported cases of child abuse were followed up and interventions undertaken to punish the offenders. Some of the children were rescued from trafficking while others were withdrawn from child labour and taken to school. Children exercised their right to participation through dialogue in key sessions such as day of African child, interschool debates, labour day, world AIDS day and through the art work the was designed by the trained child rights clubs which was later used in production of posters showcasing forms of child abuse and calling upon the community to stop all the forms abuse and protect all children.

Here are just a few of the children supported during this project. A full report can be seen here(Warning - very large file): -

AGNES - FROM A HOUSE GIRL, A YOUNG MOTHER TO A BRILLIANT STUDENT AT SCHOOL.

NALUBEGA RUTH WHO IS LIVING POSITIVELY WITH HIV AND HOPEFUL FOR A BRIGHT FUTURE WHILE AT SCHOOL.

BENJAMIN - FROM A BABY SITTER TO A SCHOOL BOY