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KCCA to close shelters housing street children

Ms. Josephine Lubwama, Deputy Director of Gender at KCCA. (PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA – Kampala Capital City Authority has revealed plans to close two settlements that accommodate street children in a bid to eliminate them from the city.

The Deputy Director of Gender at KCCA, Josephine Lubwama has asserted that the two settlements located in Katwe and Kisenyi are harbouring these street children which has given some manipulative people avenues to exploit the vulnerable kids.

“We have settlements where children sleep and are exploited because someone offers them a place to stay. We are going to close those settlements so that traffickers stop bringing children because they know there is a place for them to sleep in Katwe and Kisenyi.” Ms Lubwama proclaimed.

She made the remarks at the launch of the 18 days 467Km walking campaign from Kampala to Karamoja to raise awareness on the need to keep children off the streets by giving them an education under the theme ‘Journey of Hope’s Schools Not Streets’ campaign.

Speaking at the launch at Parliament, Lubwama emphasized that with such settlements where children are offered to sleep, this attracts more children traffickers to ferry in more children which has seen many struggle on the city streets.

Maureen Muwonge, the Deputy Director Child Protection at Dwelling places calls for the need by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development to step up their efforts against child abuse which is partly contributing to the increase in the number of street-connected children.

A number of children from streets used this opportunity to cry out to the concerned persons to get them off the streets and back to school so that they can also meet their dreams.

In a 2015 report by the African Network for the Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect (AMPCAN) indicated that the number of street children in Uganda had risen to 10,000 representing a 70% increase since 1993.

ANPPCAN Uganda further highlighted that the majority of the street children in Uganda join street life between the age of 5 and 10 years (44%), while 42% joined when they were aged between 11-15 years and 6% when they were aged 16-18 years, with the number of children joining the street below 10 years being very small especially for those who are accompanied, implying that the children below 10 years who are on the street were either born there or just accompanying old ones.

Majority of the street children (57%) come from the Karamoja sub-region, mainly Napak district (44%) with the study indicating that as much as most children come from Karamoja, increasingly more children are in recent times, coming from other areas of the country (43%); underpinning the notion that street children are a national problem.

Below is the distribution;

Statistics show that the majority (64%) of the children had been on the street for 1 to 4 years while 16% and 7% had been on the street for 5-9 years and below 1 year respectively.

It was only 4% that had been on the street for ten years and above while 9% of the children were not sure of the length of time they had spent on the street.

Descriptive statistics further showed that 40% of these street children were accompanied by relatives (48%), friends (30%) and a mother (15%). The study found out that although some children come with other people, they are later left to fend for themselves.

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