An estimated 35,000 Ugandan children were abducted the Lord’s Resistance Army and trained as soldiers to kill on behalf of the army. Some children, ranging from ages 2-16, were held captive for long periods of time while others killed dozens of people- including their own families. As a result of the children being abducted and subjected to torture by adults, it is difficult for them to trust anyone, which could potentially hinder them from accepting help. Due to poverty, illness, Lord’s resistance army killings, and the political unrest in the area the number of children without support of their natural family continues to proliferate. The child soldiers are mentally traumatized and are unable to live/ associate with an average child. Some former child soldiers also depict inappropriate behavior to the extent that handling them requires specialists, which are lacking in areas like Kotido. Their situation is exacerbated by the insecurity in the region, acute poverty, limited marketing opportunities, poor infrastructure and lack of basic social services including education for the children. Kotido also stands out as one of the least socially and economically developed area in Uganda.
The SOS Social Centre- (Gulu) supports over 250 children and mothers in the community that have been affected by the civil war with counseling, medical, nutritional and educational support.
For life charity- founded in 2005 by a group of people working in the aviation industry who seek to fund education, sanitation, safe water supplies, and community projects in Kotido.
Invisible Children- uses film, creativity and social action to end the use of child soldiers in Joseph Kony’s rebel war and restore Lord’s resistance army- affected communities in central Africa to peace and prosperity.
International Rescue Committee- Provides immediate protect ion, health care, and emotional support for child soldiers that were demobilized or those who have escaped from the armed forces. IRC has programs for former child soldiers in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Liberia, and Uganda.
Goal and Objectives of the Baseline Survey
In other to ensure effective response to the challenges that the children face, Nascent Solutions has designed a baseline survey that will provide the organization with deeper insights on the actual situation of the former child soldiers, an understanding of the responses the children are already receiving and the gaps that need to be filled and way of coordination its activities with the ongoing interventions.
The populations targeted for the baseline project include the former child soldiers, their family members, local government service providers, local human rights organization and the community of Kotido Uganda Kotido.
Strategy and Methodology
Nascent will utilize qualitative and quantitative methods and tools including interviews, focus group sessions, observations and questionnaires to collect program data. The survey will collect demographic information such as the age of the child, when they were abducted, the length of time they were away, when they returned, the family situation, where they live, if they attend school, if they have any form of support. The survey will also delve into issues such as the physical and/or psychological problems they have, the type of support they have received in that regard, the provider and duration of the support. The survey will also collect information on the types of plans the children have for their lives and how they intend to achieve them.
These data will be triangulated by similar information collected from family and community members. Survey will also assess family and community information to establish their levels of awareness and understanding of the challenges that the returning child soldiers face. How the community is responding to their needs and what assistance they need to improve on the support.
The field monitoring and evaluations officer will work with the Howard University students to revise the data collection tools to ensure that they are culturally suitable. The project will recruit and train local research assistants with a good understanding and fluency in the local languages to facilitate the data collection process.
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