Ugandan Girl’s Education Initiative Project
Where: Kitgum, Gulu and Pader Districts, Northern Uganda
Local partner: The Acholi Education Initiative (AEI)
Donor: The Pindoff Project
The Acholi sub-region of Northern Uganda has witnessed profound suffering and displacement as a result of the prolonged 18 year armed conflict between the Government of Uganda (the Uganda Peoples Defense Force (UDPF)) and the rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army(LRA). The war has led to massive displacement of people, abduction and forced recruitment of children to fight in the conflict, and a huge decrease in access to education in the region. Girls who have been abducted and raped and return as child-mothers are particularly affected and face specific hardships, abject poverty and social isolation on their return to communities.
WCC, through the Acholi Education Initiative(AEI), supports child-mothers by providing scholarships for education, and materials such as school uniforms, books and pens for the duration of their three-year secondary school program. Girl-mothers are given access to psychosocial support, counseling services and support to meet their basic needs such as food, shelter, childcare and healthcare
The project also provides funds for the rehabilitation and maintenance of schools in the Acholi sub-region. Emphasis is placed on increasing child mothers’ access to basic education, including community-based outreach initiatives and social support programs.
Northern Uganda Child Legal Defense Project
Where: Gulu and Kitgum Districts, Northern Uganda
Local partners: Uganda Law Society - Legal Aid Project, the Association of Uganda Women Lawyers, and Human Rights Focus - www.uls.org.ug
In recent years, more than 20,000 children have been abducted and forced to serve and fight for the Lord’s Resistance Army(LRA) while thousands more have been starved, displaced, attacked and deprived of their basic rights and security. The current poor state of child rights in Northern Uganda is partly a consequence of the ongoing military conflict, as well as a result of the severe lack of human, material and financial resources to effectively and adequately defend the rights of children.
This project funds two Child and Youth Advocates within the Uganda Law Society who speak out for children’s rights in the justice system in Uganda, and provides legal aid for disadvantaged youth. Advocacy and awareness campaigns are carried out to strengthen the laws that protect children’s rights, and public education campaigns are used to sensitize the greater population on the importance of children’s rights. The project will also create a permanent legal resource for local and international organizations active on issues related to protecting and promoting the rights of children.
Quick background facts:
Amnesty International estimates that 90% of soldiers in the Lord’s Resistance Army in Northern Uganda are children.
Girls who are taken as soldiers are often given as wives or sexual slaves to male commanders, according to the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers. Many become pregnant or contract sexually-transmitted diseases, including HIV.
Tens of thousands of children in northern Uganda walk from their rural villages to “safe zones” to sleep every night, in order to escape possible abduction.
Read CRISIS PROFILE at Alertnet-What’s going on in northern Uganda? (23 Feb 2006)