Oct 21, 2021

Tales of Children living in displacement camps.

A visit to one of the internally displaced camps in Kasese district, one is welcomed by smiling faces from innocent Children and teenagers mostly below 18 years of age. Hundreds of households were displaced by Floods after River Nyamwamba burst its banks in May 2020.

According to the internally Displaced Monitoring Center (IDMC, 2019) around 16.1 million people in the world were displaced in 2018 because of weather-related events; among them 33 %( 5.4 million) were displaced by floods.

According to the office of the prime minister, disaster department, 65,250 people have been displaced by floods. (Uganda –Flood Impact Mobility Assessment, 4th-28th may 2020)

Hundreds of households have sought refuge in camps and nearby schools. The displacements do not spare the young as they automatically move with their parents or Guardians in times of disasters. They are forced to flee their homes due to the damage caused by the disasters but have not crossed international borders.

On a visit by Joy for Children-Uganda to Kanyangeya internally displaced peoples camp in Kasese district, western Uganda parents spoke of walking for hours to search for fire wood, food and water.

“Every morning i walk from here to Rukoki and Kahonda in search for work so that I can feed my Family, on my way I have search for firewood to use the next day. I cannot sit at home because we have no food”, said the mother of four.

She said she eagerly waits when the Government will relocate them to a safer place with decent accommodation.

One of her daughters, Olivia (not real name) was knocked down by a speeding motor cycle as she was crossing the road to go and look for food.

“I was at home and my siblings started crying because of hunger, so I had to run to look for food but unfortunately as I was entering the road, a motor cycle knocked me and I started bleeding”, says Olivia as she points to the injury on her forehead.

The mud sucks at the little Children’s feet as they play about in the camp and water enters the make shift structures whenever it rains. The head of the household Ndaizimana says the floods destroyed their house, crops and life has been tough ever since they relocated to the camp.

The Children only feed on one a meal day and the adults often sleep hungry or they collect wild fruits for food. She says she has limited knowledge about covid-19 because they have no access to television or radio in the camp.

“We only heard about corona virus when we were still school and we live our normal life in the camp without any precautions of avoiding the virus,” she adds.

On 5th September, Joy for Children-Uganda visited Kanyangeya camp for the displaced persons and delivered food items such as maize flour, beans, sugar and salt. We also had sessions with the teenage girls and distributed sanitary towels to the girls who are currently out of school due to closure of schools and floods. Kasese has been among the districts with high cases of teenage pregnancies in the country since March 2020(2300 cases) and this has been partly attributed to lack of sanitary towels. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JErRdJdqS64

The challenges they express are majorly the lack of sanitary towels, lack of education materials, food and sexual and reproductive health services. Some of the young girls confessed to having slept with older men to get money for buying sanitary towels.

Diana (not real name) is a 16 year old girl; she carries her young sister on her back while she gazes down in shyness. When she starts to talk about how the floods destroyed their home and gardens, sadness in her eyes is evident.

“We were sleeping in the night and then we heard screams and in a very short time, water had soaked our house, we were stuck, water was everywhere. “She says.

“My younger siblings begun to cry because no one had ever seen something like that. We had to walk in the night looking for safe place.” she adds.

It is so devastating to watch and listen to such sad stories of young children but it is our mandate to ensure that children no matter their age, race, gender and physical ability grow up in a safe environment and enjoy their rights as children.

We played and took photos with the children to make a few memories for our visit.

Our campaign is still running and we request for your kind donations to continue supporting the Children and adolescent girls so that they can get back to school in January.

Oct 11, 2021

International Day of the Girl Child.

On the International day of the Girl child, October 11th 2021, Joy for Children-Uganda recognizes the rights of girls and the challenges they face every day.

The international day of the girl child focuses attention to addressing the challenges that girls go through and promote girls empowerment especially during these unprecedented times of covid-19. Girls have the right to a safe and healthy life. If they are effectively supported even in the face of covid-19, Girls have the potential to change the world.

The 2030 Agenda for sustainable development Goal 5 which is bold and broad focuses on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. But tackling the underlying gender inequalities that exist between men and women doesn’t end with one goal; the other 16 goals cannot be achieved without empowering girls, women, boys and men to achieve their full potential.

The covid-19 pandemic made these inequalities even more severe where lockdowns have increased violence against women, 243 million women and girls aged 15-49 years being violently abused (UN WOMEN). The Uganda Police annual crime report (2020) reported 1,521 women were raped, 17,644 domestic violence cases of which 13,145 are female adults and 14,134 are female juveniles. There has been a rise in teenage pregnancies which has been largely attributed to closure of schools in response to managing covid-19 pandemic. A survey carried out by Plan International- Uganda reveals 8,736 teen girls aged 15-19 years were defiled and impregnated in Lango sub-region between April and June 2020.Reports of the daily’s also indicated 950 teen pregnancies in Kabale and 1,300 in Rukungiri.

These sobering statistics provide the momentum for change and it is possible if governments, civil society, teachers, parents and the girls themselves came together to solve for a common challenge. Despite the challenges that girls continue to face around the world, many organizations and policies have attempted to address the needs of girls.

International day of the girl child 2021 theme; “Digital Generation, Our Generation”.

The covid-19 pandemic has changed how things operate around the world, re-emphasizing the importance of digital technology and digital transformations which have become the new normal on many fronts in the face of the pandemic. It has accelerated the use of digital platforms for learning, earning and connecting yet 2.2 billion people below the age of 25 still do not access internet at home. (UNICEF).The platforms have come in handy in facilitating remote learning. According to Uganda communications commission, 48% of the population are using internet.

But what do these digital transforms mean for girls who cannot access digital devicesparticularly those in rural areas this is due to the fact that either these girls cannot afford the devices/internet or due to social norms that deter women and girls from accessing information using digital platforms.

“The covid 19 pandemic took the world by storm and many countries especially those in the global south are yet to learn how to deal with it. School has remained closed for nearly two years, businesses disrupted by lockdowns for months threatening to plunge millions into poverty”- Moses Ntenga, Executive Director, Joy for Children-Uganda.

What is more concerning is that even when the schools reopen, many children especially girls may not return to school due to high number of teen pregnancies ever recorded in recent past, poverty and permanent closure of schools that are near the learner. Like in most parts of Africa, the digital transformation would most benefit children who are in school than those out of school. And yet, with this digital revolution, will dictate on how we study, communicate or do business or deliver at work places. Girls who fail to return to school are most likely to miss other opportunities in future shrinking their chances of realizing their full potential. As actors, we need to work together, removing barriers to girls return to school in the era of covid19 pandemic.

Nearly half of the world’s population remains offline and excluded from the benefits of digitalization. (UN report October 2019), this has created a “digital divide” which has negatively affected the social-economically disadvantaged persons including women and girls. The way forward to reducing the digital divide is in recognizing the role of digital platforms which continue to convey information and increase access to learning opportunities. Girls must not be left behind; we need to move from talking to taking action if we are to achieve sustainable development Goal 5 (Gender Equality).

  • Recognize the existing gender inequalities that exist and find ways to address them to allow girls access technology.
  • Design and implement interventions focused on eliminating underlying harmful cultural and gender norms that deter women and girls from accessing information on-line.
  • Government of Uganda should provide active learning support to build digital literacy and skills.
  • Ease access to low-cost technologies and digital training for girls while safeguarding their online safety and privacy.
  • Programs should embed gender in all the activities, collect data on gender to aid in project implementation and how the activities directly impact the girls.
  • Develop policies and strategies that confront barriers to Gender equality and digital access.
Oct 1, 2021

The plight of Children and Girls in the camp

A visit to one of the internally displaced camps in Kasese district, one is welcomed by smiling faces from innocent Children and teenagers mostly below 18 years of age. Hundreds of households were displaced by Floods after River Nyamwamba burst its banks in May 2020.

According to the internally Displaced Monitoring Center (IDMC, 2019) around 16.1 million people in the world were displaced in 2018 because of weather-related events; among them 33 %( 5.4 million) were displaced by floods.

According to the office of the prime minister, disaster department, 65,250 people have been displaced by floods. (Uganda –Flood Impact Mobility Assessment, 4th-28th may 2020)

Hundreds of households have sought refuge in camps and nearby schools. The displacements do not spare the young as they automatically move with their parents or Guardians in times of disasters. They are forced to flee their homes due to the damage caused by the disasters but have not crossed international borders.

On a visit by Joy for Children-Uganda to Kanyangeya internally displaced peoples camp in Kasese district, western Uganda parents spoke of walking for hours to search for fire wood, food and water.

“Every morning i walk from here to Rukoki and Kahonda in search for work so that I can feed my Family, on my way I have search for firewood to use the next day. I cannot sit at home because we have no food”, said the mother of four.

She said she eagerly waits when the Government will relocate them to a safer place with decent accommodation.

One of her daughters, Olivia (not real name) was knocked down by a speeding motor cycle as she was crossing the road to go and look for food.

“I was at home and my siblings started crying because of hunger, so I had to run to look for food but unfortunately as I was entering the road, a motor cycle knocked me and I started bleeding”, says Olivia as she points to the injury on her forehead.

The mud sucks at the little Children’s feet as they play about in the camp and water enters the make shift structures whenever it rains. The head of the household Ndaizimana says the floods destroyed their house, crops and life has been tough ever since they relocated to the camp.

The Children only feed on one a meal day and the adults often sleep hungry or they collect wild fruits for food. She says she has limited knowledge about covid-19 because they have no access to television or radio in the camp.

“We only heard about corona virus when we were still school and we live our normal life in the camp without any precautions of avoiding the virus,” she adds.

On 5th September, Joy for Children-Uganda visited Kanyangeya camp for the displaced persons and talked to the teenage girls and distributed sanitary towels to the girls who are currently out of school due to closure of schools and floods. Kasese has been among the districts with high cases of teenage pregnancies in the country since March 2020(2300 cases).

The challenges they express are majorly the lack of sanitary towels, lack of education materials, food and sexual and reproductive health services. Some of the young girls confessed to having slept with older men to get money for buying sanitary towels.

Our campaign is still running and we request for your kind donations to continue supporting these girls so that they can keep in school.

 
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