Hoima Catholic diocese receives Shs 388m for girl child protection

HOIMA – The Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs, Sarah Nyirabashitsi Mateke has condemned the increasing number child abuse cases.

Mateke said, COVID-19 has caused serious impact on children globally and Uganda was not spared as many children were emotionally and sexually abused.

The Minister made the remakes while launching a one-year project implemented by Hoima Catholic Diocese education department in partnership with World Vision with funding from Manos UNIDAS, a Spanish organization.

The project worth Shs388 million dubbed “Protection of the girl child in the face of COVID–19” will focus on sensitizing communities on the need to protect the girl child and the need to promote her education.

Under the project, 10,000 girls will be empowered with life skills and the girl child protection systems in the diocese will be strengthened.

Psycho-social support will be provided to at least 5000 victims of abuses, existing government structures for the protection of the Girl child will be strengthened and structures through which the rights of the Girl child is detected, reported and handled.

According to Nyirabashitsi by June 2021, the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development, through the children helplines registered 14,230 cases of defilement of which 14,080 were girls.

She further indicates that 1,280 were children in the ages of one to eight years, 2,980 were children aged between 9 to 14 years and 9,954 were children aged between 15 to 17 years. Statistics show that 120 were defiled by their parents and 52 defiled by teachers while 301 were defiled by HIV/AIDS positive persons.

She added that apart from the cases that were registered by the Ministry, police registered 40,000 case of child abuse. She notes that with such statistics, there is need to ensure the protection and safety of the girl child. She notes that there is need to sensitize parents on the issues of child protection since education and protection of children starts at home.

She commended the diocese for initiating the project aimed at protecting children adding that Ministry has come up with parenting guidelines and promised to provide the diocese with the guideline information to help as they empower the parents.

She also challenged parents and caregivers to equip the children in the adolescent age with appropriate information about sexual reproductive health and rights so that they can make informed decisions.

Grace Mary Mugasa, the State Minister for Public Service has called on the child rights advocates to embark on the empowerment of a boy child. She noted the emphasis is always put on girls leaving out boys, yet they are the ones abusing these empowered girls.

She noted that digital education is also spoiling the children in that during the COVID-19 pandemic, several parents acquired phones for their children for learning purposes, but they ended up using these phones to watch things that spoil their lives.

She noted that there is a need for parents to monitor what the children watch on televisions and on how they use the phones which were provided to them.

Mugasa attributed the increasing case of child abuse on poor parenting adding that nowadays parents have no time for children as many have left their children to house maids and televisions.

According to the Minister, the Covid-19 Pandemic has exposed parents and the communities’ weakness in looking after their children.

The Bishop of Hoima Catholic Diocese, Rt. Rev Vicente Kirabo explained that the project will help to ensure a holistic education and protection of the girl child.

He expressed concern over the increasing cases of child neglect and abuse especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, adding that there is need for parents, religious leaders, and teachers to advocate for the love and protection of children.

“No society will continue existing without children. If we want our country to develop, we must love the children, care for them, and educate them and above all establish systems to ensure their protection from all forms of abuse. The project we have launched today focuses on the protection of the girl child since they are more vulnerable than boys,” he said.

The State Minister for Bunyoro Affairs Jenipher Kacha Namuyangu commended the Bishop and the entire diocese for promoting social service delivery instead of focusing only on preaching the Evangelism.

She noted that Bunyoro is at a take-off stage in terms of development, adding that there is a need for different stakeholders to mobilize the local people to engage in productive activities.


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