We’ve been working in Uganda since 2020 to support children and young people working and living alone on the streets of Uganda.
In Uganda, despite the enormity of the challenge, there is a death of reliable data on the actual number of street-connected children because no specific comprehensive headcount as this has ever been done
Over half of all Ugandans are under the age of 18. Children are the single largest demographic group living in poverty. According to government estimates, as many as 15,000 children between the ages of 7 and 17 live on the streets of the capital city, Kampala.
Street children in Uganda’s urban centres face the risk of violence, abuse, and discrimination at the hands of the police and the population at large.
Ugandan CLWS lack basic necessities, including access to clean water, food, medical attention, shelter, and education.
What you need to know about children in Uganda
Children’s rights to survival
- Uganda ranks among the top 10 countries in the world for high maternal, newborn and child mortality rates.
- HIV and AIDS is now the second leading cause of death among adolescents, accounting for 300 deaths a day (UNAIDS, 2014). malaria, diarrhoea, pneumonia and infections like HIV account for 70% of under-five deaths (MoH, 2013
- Households bear most of the costs for health care, with household expenditure constituting 43%, donors 34% and government 23% (MoH, 2013a).
- The percentage of children deprived of access to safe water decreased from 39% to 30% between 2010 and 2013 (MoGLSD et al., 2014).
Childnren’s rights to education & other developmental rights
- While Uganda has made important strides in extending primary schooling since universal primary education was introduced in 1997, dropout rates remain high.
- Early childhood development policies have improved at national level, with implementation and coordination being the next core challenges.
- Conflict and disasters (natural and man made) continue to undermine and disrupt the provision of education, as well as the development and wellbeing of children more generally.
- Violence in schools is widespread, contributing to high dropout rates and poor performance.
Children’s rights to protection
- There are 17.1 million children below 18 years1 (over 56% of the population); 11.3% of these are orphans, 8% of children are critically vulnerable, while 43% are moderately vulnerable (MoGLSD, 2011 and UBOS, 2014a).
- As of 2014, only 60% of children aged 0–4 years have birth registration papers (UNICEF Uganda, 2015).
- Nearly half (49%) of women aged 20–49 years were married before the age of 18 years and 15% by the age of 15 years (UBOS and ICF International, 2012).
- The amount of time juveniles spend in detention before sentencing has decreased from five to three months on average, while the number of juvenile offenders rehabilitated after release has increased.
Children’s rights to participation
- The 2008 National Child Participation Guide provides guidelines on participation but does not define actions or goals.
- Existing participation initiatives have limited reach. In particular, children’s and youth participation initiatives tend to be related to specific programmes funded and run by international and local NGOs.
- There is a concern that many participatory initiatives do not reach the most disadvantaged or excluded children and, as such, can potentially contribute to further social exclusion.
- There are no institutionalised mechanisms for child participation and for ensuring that children’s views are considered in decision-making at national and lower levels
Your donations help us to fund brilliant innovated project in Mukono and Wakiso, Kampala, Uganda
Drawing upon our experiences in Tanzania, Cheka Sana is now beginning exciting new work with and for vulnerable street children and young mothers in Kampala
When we can reach a child before they reach the streets, our chances of success are so much better. We seek to help families in difficulty and to divert children at risk from life or work on the streets.
In a crisis, CLWS need direct help and they need it quickly. We believe every child should have a safe, secure and decent place to call home. Our job is to work with these children and provide them with a safe and secure environment, where they can receive much-needed care and support.
Vulnerable CLWS often suffer abuse and neglect as a result of widespread and damaging views that poor and marginalised children are of lesser social worth. We work with carefully trained, locally knowledgeable frontline partners to help the most vulnerable children and young people escape and seek redress from fear, violence, sexual, mental and physical abuse and intimidation. This encompasses work with local agencies and communities in order to provide children with the appropriate care. Where possible, we see that children are provided with a safe home and that they receive the support they need to recover from traumatic experiences.
Social justice and community empowerment are key aspects of our agenda. We work to achieve long-term, sustainable change in the lives of street children through educational support, reintegration with families (where appropriate), shifting local perceptions and working for economic empowerment. We also work to hold governments and other key stakeholders accountable for the present and future welfare of CLWS.
Street Born Project
Drawing on prior successes in Tanzania, Cheka Sana’s Street Born Project – The project that support and empower street girls and young mothers who are victims of sexual exploitation and/or who are living on the street. Our work will focus on slum areas in Kampala (Katanga), Mukono (Kiwanga) and Wakiso (Kasokoso). Also, the project will place emphasis on improving livelihoods and COVID-19 protection among street-connected child mothers living and working in slums. Simultaneously, the project aims to help protect adolescent girls that are at home due to prolonged school closures through serialised behaviour change and broader communication strategies
Street Childrens Mental Health
Mental health problems are on the rise among street-connected children in Uganda. There have been reported cases of attempted suicide especially during COVID-19. This is because a high proportion of vulnerable children who live on the street or in street-like situations suffer exploitation, discrimination and poor quality of life that often cause mental health problems. We are tackling mental health stigma by making sure street children get the support they need.
Uganda Street Children’s Sport Academy
We uses the power of football to connect with the street-connected children in Uganda. Our work transforms these children’s lives and changes people’s negative perceptions of street-connected children.