World Vision Uganda has re-launched a nationwide camapign dubbed. “It Takes A World to End Violence Against Children”.
The campaign focuses on ending child marriage, child sacrifice and violence against children in schools.
This re-launch was attended by key stake holders including the Church of Uganda, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Justice Law and Order sector, civil society organisations, Girls Not Brides partnership and children representing different regions.
The campaign was also re-launched in three regions of Uganda – Eastern, Northern and Western.
The Chief Guest, Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu presided over the national re-launch.
He said: “As a church we cannot stop violence against children alone. We need to work with different stakeholders to end violence against children”.
He applauded World Vision and Girls Not Brides partnership in their fight to end violence against children.
On behalf of Ministry of Health, the Commissioner, Maternal and Child Health Dr. Jessica Nsungwa, pledged that the ministry will carry out a massive training of health workers to be able to support children who have been victims of early and child marriage during antenatal services.
Jason Evans, the National Director of World Vision Uganda said the campaign has contributed to raising awareness on violence against children, strengthened children’s capacities to protect themselves and others from violence, improved functionality of child protection mechanisms and institutions, influenced policies on child sacrifice, parenting and child marriage, and strengthened collaboration with different stakeholders including faith and cultural institutions for children’s well-being in World Vision areas of operation.
She said there is need for concerted effort to solve and end violence against children.
“It is time for us to leverage on established partnerships to further influence policy implementation, positive behaviour and attitude, and empower children to advocate and protect themselves and others from all forms of violence especially during this COVID-19 crisis,” said Evans.
Violence against children is still persistent in many parts of the country. According to the Sauti Helpline status report of October 2, violence against children doubled. In March, 20.1% of all reported cases through the Sauti Helpline were sexual violence cases. By July, the percentage had doubled to 40% of all reported cases, overtaking child neglect (35%) and physical violence (19%).
The situation has been worsened by the Covid-19 outbreak and its impact that has exposed vulnerable children to greater child protection risks. Most of these abuses are carried out by people who the children know and are supposed to protect them.
Lady Justice Margaret Mutonyi said this situation is coming at a great cost to the future of children, especially girls.
“The suspension of schools has put girls at a very high risk of being sexually abused and not returning to school due to economic hardship, pregnancies and child marriage,” she said.