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News note

Japan donation provides major boost for children in Northern Uganda

KAMPALA, 7 March 2008 –UNICEF today received US$5 million from the Government of Japan to rapidly revitalize two of the most critical community facilities that contribute to child survival and development – the primary school and health centre – in conflict-affected northern Uganda.

The contribution will be used to fund interventions to improve the access, enrolment and retention of more than 90,000 primary school-age children in 72 schools, and improve the access to, and quality of, primary healthcare services delivered by 24 health facilities benefiting approximately 250,000 people.  All the interventions will take place, between April 2008 and December 2009, in areas of return by internally displaced persons (IDP) in northern Uganda’s Acholi and Lango sub-regions (Amuru, Gulu, Kitgum, Pader, Apac, Amolatar, Dokolo, Lira and Oyam Districts).

Particular emphasis is being placed on strengthening school and health facilities through community ownership and participation.  In the second year of the multi-sector project, UNICEF and its partners will conduct large-scale campaigns to increase both community awareness about their right to essential services, and the demand for and uptake of those services.

UNICEF Representative in Uganda, Keith McKenzie, said, “This latest donation by the Government and people of Japan will go a long way to make sure that children and women are placed at the heart of the recovery and development process in northern Uganda.  We are grateful for Japan’s staunch commitment to providing unhindered education and health services to the children, whose best interests must never be forgotten.”

By the end of 2007, against the backdrop of an increasingly secure environment, more than half of the 1.8 million IDPs in northern Uganda had begun the process of returning to original homesteads, including half a million settling permanently in their home villages and some 400,000 making the initial movement out of camp settlements.  More often than not, however, communities have been returning to dilapidated or non-functioning infrastructure.

This latest contribution to UNICEF has been made as part of the Government of Japan’s Community Empowerment Grant, totalling approximately US$14.8 million, to assist UNICEF-supported programmes in Burundi, Liberia, Timor-Leste, Haiti and Uganda.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For more information, please contact:
Chulho Hyun, UNICEF Uganda, +256 (0)772 222 347, chyun@unicef.org




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