Children of Prisoners and Children from the forgotten Communities
by JONATHAN MUGERWA
Jonathan Mugerwa Visiting inmates' children in Uganda Women Prisons
Fixing a broken system in the Correctional Industry of Uganda.
The situation for children in Uganda
More than 3 million children under the age of 18 live in Uganda. Their journey to adulthood is not an easy one.
Child poverty hampers children’s development, educational outcomes, job prospects, health and behavior, often resulting in the chronic intergenerational transmission of poverty. The crime, violence and the consequent incarceration worsens the situation. This situation analysis focuses on the fulfilment of children’s rights as enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda. In addition, through disaggregated assessment of the status and trends of the realization of children’s rights, it provides key insights to promote and implement equity sensitive policies, programs and budget allocations. With close to 60% of the population below 18 years of age, and over 75% below the age of 35 years, children’s cognitive development represents Uganda’s greatest natural resource. Moreover, Uganda’s vision of becoming a middle-income country by 2040 remains highly contingent upon our collective ability to safeguard children’s right to contribute to national development. It is our most sincere hope that the findings and policy recommendations provided in this situation analysis of children in Uganda will help raise awareness on the need to prioritize children and vulnerable groups in national and sector plans and strategies through the effective design and implementation of tangible and actionable interventions aimed at alleviating the burden of child poverty and deprivation.
Children’s early years are at the heart of their life chances. They are the ‘make or break’ years when children are either provided with the opportunities to grow and thrive, or they face adversity that negatively affects their bodies, minds and emotions for life.
A third of all children in Uganda are young children – under the age of 5. Though much has improved in child survival and development in Uganda over the years, many children are still not getting the support they need in early life.
The difficulties start from the time they are inside their mother’s womb. A very high maternal mortality rate of 300 deaths for every 30,000 live births means that many children die with their mothers inside the womb, or are born without a mother to take care and nourish them. Only one of every two babies is exclusively breastfed during the first six months of their life.
Many maternal and neonatal deaths could be prevented with adequate health care and referral services. But saving the lives of mothers and babies is difficult when close to 30 per cent of women give birth at home, without the help of a trained midwife. Only 70 per cent of babies are delivered in health facilities where the quality of health care is not always adequate.
Many newborns do not make it past their first month of life. In fact, more than a third of all deaths of children under the age of 5 happen in the neonatal period.
Many mothers are actually teenage mothers – Uganda has a high adolescent pregnancy rate where about one in three adolescent girls are pregnant. The younger the woman, the more dangerous pregnancy and childbirth are to herself and her baby.
And even if children make it beyond their baby years, they still have to face the threat of child killers such as pneumonia, malaria, diarrhea, measles, AIDS crime and violence. One in 5 children die before their fifth birthday due to these preventable and treatable diseases.
Buena Charity Services Uganda volunteers with the staff of Victoria Women Prisons.
Buena Charity Services Uganda (BCSU), is a consultancy body specializing in criminal justice, correctional reform and reentry in the land. We provide analytical, policy and communications support to individuals who share our mission: Building safer and stronger communities.
BCSU provides access to your sponsored child in times of communication. Keep in touch with your child by writing to him/her to P. O. Box 37626 Kampala. Our Bank account number is 0086955001 Diamond Trust Bank, George street branch, Kampala Road.
Alternatively, you can fill the correctional form above.
Fridaus Najjuma 17 years
Fridaus is living with some sense of guilt after she was sexually assaulted at the age of 13. The father Mansour Katende of Buyebeyi village exhibited a sense of negligence when he left Fridaus home alone without anyone’s care. Firdaus’s mother died in 2015.
Butawuuka Magezi Ntaake Senior Secondary School has admitted Fridaus in senior three class to protect her image in the community. However, she missed exams in 2019 due to financial difficulties. She is looking for a sponsor for her education.