The baseline study findings conducted at the commencement of this project indicated that violence against children mostly takes place at home contrary to the National Orphans and other Vulnerable Children (OVC) Policy that indicates a family is the first line of response to support the OVC. Other places mentioned were schools and roads. Caning or beating is the mostly used form of punishment reported all the participants. 63% of the households surveyed reported caning as means of punishment used. Defilement was reported next as a form of abuse at 90% by 9/10 schools surveyed. Another form of abuse reported was denial of education and food that was mostly reported in Bukonzo County.
The frequency of punishing children in homes on average is once a week. Parents reported that punishments are often emotionally motivated rather than reason. Children mostly respond to violence by reporting to parents, teachers and the police. They are mostly affected by violence in terms of contracting diseases, others drop out of school and some girls get pregnant. Half of the key informant children reported emotional effects like sadness and crying. All the participants in the baseline study recommended sensitization to curb down abuse in the district.
RIDE AFRICA therefore facilitated the Women Groups of Kakindo, Hope for Uganda, Tweteraine Block B Group and Youth groups in Maliba and Kitswamba sub-counties to conduct community sensitization activities for the prevention of violence against children in homes and communities. A total of 117 participants; 103 females and 14 males were involved.
The sensitization activities have enabled the communities to acquire information and knowledge about the rights of children and their responsibilities, the reporting procedures of children abuses and violations as well as gaining confidence to report the child abusers to the authorities.
The women and girls in the local communities have also been trained in making reusable sanitary pads so as to promote hygiene and also reduce the number of girl child drop out in school.