Uganda: Jinja to Deal With Street Kids
New Vision (Kampala)
2 January 2008
Posted to the web 3 January 2008
AFTER grappling with the problem of increasing street children for a long time, Walukuba/Masese division in Jinja Municipality has launched a vigorous campaign to get them off the streets.
Councillors on recently approved a motion ‘Street kids is a problem in Walukuba/Masese division’ moved by Elias Kaggwa, a member of the social services committee, whose aim is to ‘force’ children off the streets and back to school.
The policy also seeks to create awareness amongst stakeholders about the problem, find solutions to it and strengthening respect of the rights of children to education, health, shelter and clothing among others.
"It will also enable the council to obtain data on these children, on which we shall base to plan and integrate them into school," Kaggwa said.
According to the policy to be implemented with effect from 2008, field exercises will be carried out by representatives of LCs I and II who, under the slogan ‘No street kids’ will sensitise masses on the dangers these children face and their effect on the community.
The council will liaise with stakeholders, including the municipal council, non governmental organisations, churches, the Government and the Karamojong Special Education Programme under which several Karamojong children are being educated at Masese Co education school so that those lured off streets can access free education.
"At the end of each year, LCs who will have excelled in ‘forcing’ the children back to school will be rewarded," Kaggwa said.
They passed a Sh3.9m budget to cater for the programme.
The policy also targets parents/guardians who send their children into child labour.
"Penalties will be sanctioned to the offenders ranging from fines to imprisonment. Some people bring these children here and send them to the streets instead of schools," Kaggwa said.
Kaggwa is optimistic that if efficiently implemented, the policy will completely rid Walukuba division of street children, reduce the crime rate and lead to improved health and sanitation.