KAMPALA – The Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs, Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi has applauded Child’s i Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation that helps children return to families by rebuilding family support systems upon assistance they have rendered to less-privileged children in Uganda.
In partnership with Hope and Homes for Children (HHC) through the UKAID Match, the Foundation funded ‘No Child Left Behind’ three-year project, catalyzed the elimination of institutional care for children. The project which started in April 2019 demonstrated the positive impact of family strengthening, prevention support and family-based alternative care services as a high-quality alternative to institutions and providing a model that can be replicated.
Speaking at the project closeout held at Royal Suites Hotel, Bugolobi on Wednesday, March 31, Minister Kiyingi thanked the Foundation for working in partnership with the government to support and protect Ugandan children.
“I also recommend Ugandan homes for taking care of our children,” she said.
“I’m here to encourage the practice of de-institutionalizing children and this we started way back in 2017 under the guidance of Secretary-General to the Common Wealth. I thank the Child’s i Foundation that they have cooperated and today we have seen Tororo and the neighboring districts’ three of institutional care speak that a child should as much as possible be protected from danger and empowered but while in the relevant community or anybody in the community who can offer to foster,” added Minister.
According to the Minister, the government has so far closed 169 child care instructions.
“So today we are celebrating the fact that it has taken shape in Uganda though from few districts but it is rolling out to other districts,” she said.
Ms Susan Ajok, the Child’s i Foundation county director said that the scope of the project was related to supporting the government of Uganda to transition children and re-purpose institutions to benefit the entire community.
The project specifically aimed at providing interventions in 3 pilot institutions, 1 in Makindye Division and 2 in Tororo District through supporting children at risk of unnecessary separation, children in institutional care, strengthening families and communities as well as ensuring every child belongs to a family.
She said that results from the project will inform the nation to reimagine care of its most vulnerable citizens by supporting the government, civil society and Donors in the country to invest in families not orphanages.
“I’m very confident that we have set the standard for what the country should be looking at when you talk about ensuring that all children are in loving homes,” she said.
“The organization has been around for quite some time and we want a civil society organization work with able answers to end break of orphanages in Uganda. Our idea is that we repurpose orphanages that exist to rethink the way they take care of children,” she added to say.
Also at the function was Commissioner of Youth and Child Affairs, Mr Fred Ngabirano who warned all those that are running illegal caregiving institutions.
He applauded Child i Foundation for the relationship with the ministry of gender and the great work they have done, saying that some of the children who were fostered are now graduates.
“So when we talk about alternative care we know it works,” he said, adding that “As government, we have reviewed our alternative care framework and come up with quality alternative care implementation plan.”
The function was also officiated by Mr. Christopher Muwanguzi, the CEO, Child’s i Foundation and Archbishop Church of Uganda, Dr. Rev. Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu who sent a representative.
About the Project
Child’s i Foundation is a key player in driving policy reform related to child protection and alternative care in Uganda. In addition, the organization has contributed to building the national evidence base by demonstrating the effectiveness of family-based and community care through its ongoing programs. We are supporting the government in its implementation of the Alternative Care Framework through the Orphans and Vulnerable children’s(OVC) Programmes.
Key aspects of the work included:
- The development of a coordinating mechanism to facilitate cooperation between agencies and stakeholders at the local level with a view to develop effective care alternatives for children.
- Assessment of children currently in the institution and their families in order to support reintegration or to find alternative family-based care
- Setting up a system of assessment and service provision in order to support families likely to place their children in an institution
- Establishment of policies and procedures at the local level to ensure that an effective system of gatekeeping is in place
- Building capacity and capability of different child Protection actors to take lead in ensuring that children live in safe and loving families.
- Pioneering the full inclusion of children with disabilities in care reform ensuring “NO Child Is Left Behind”
As a result, hundreds of institutionalized children have been transitioned into safe family environments where they receive care and protection and benefit from significantly improved health, education and wellbeing outcomes. Further to this, the lives of thousands of children and their families at risk of institutionalization in targeted project locations, including children with disabilities have benefited from improved community-based services. Families have been supported to: reduce their vulnerability, access services and gain relevant skills with regard to increasing their income and protecting all children. In addition, the capacity of government professionals and community paraprofessionals increased to strengthen families in responding adequately to poverty and ensure children are safe and protected.