Advocating for increased investments for children
In Uganda, as elsewhere, children need advocates. This is because they cannot look after their own interests or ensure that their rights are respected. Parents, caregivers and guardians are supposed to do this for them: but some do not, or cannot, due to a number of factors.
Children are also not given a voice by many of the adults who make the decisions that affect them most – teachers, health workers, magistrates, policy makers and legislators who decide what resources will and will not be available to them and their families.
Uganda has a comprehensive policy and legal framework to protect children and has signed all the major international agreements on children’s rights. However, many Ugandan policy makers and practitioners, as well as the public, have limited knowledge about child rights, hence the need to regularly create awareness about the situation of children, and move people to act for children.
WHY INVEST IN UGANDA’S CHILDREN?
• When receiving the right package of early childhood development interventions, young children will earn 25 per cent more throughout the course of their lives.
• It is estimated that stunting, due to undernutrition, is costing Uganda 5.6 per cent – 1.8 trillion Ugandan shillings – of its annual gross domestic product.
• A child support grant to poor families with children under 2 (16,000 Ugandan shillings per month per child) can reduce Uganda’s poverty rate by a third.
• A universal child support grant to all families with children under the age of 8 can reduce poverty in Uganda by 67 per cent.
• If these critical interventions are provided, Uganda will have a much greater chance of realizing its Vision 2040.
In 2014, the #InvestInUGchildren campaign was started as a call to invest in today’s children in order to realize Uganda’s Vision 2040 of transforming from a peasant-based economy into a prosperous upper-middle-income country. It specifically aims to mobilize strategic partnerships in catalyzing investments in the country’s children, and to build broad-based support to urgently prioritize these investments. Prosperity can only happen by helping children grow into a strong, healthy and productive work force that will drive Uganda’s social and economic development and greater international competitiveness – and achieve Vision 2040.
To sustain the gains made so far under the #InvestInUGchildren campaign, UNICEF will:
• Develop and implement an #InvestInUGchildren multimedia communication strategy, to spread key messages and facts about children and women from UNICEF’s evidence base.
• Build partnerships with key Ugandan media entities to thetell the story of why investing in children is vital to Uganda realizing its Vision 2040.
• Use social media to digitally drive the #InvestInUGchildren campaign.
• Engage influential public figures from sports, music, arts, religious leadership and the private sector to participate in and make calls to action for the #InvestInUGchildren campaign.
• Organize compelling events to mobilize the public around children’s rights.
• By 2020, the power of the media, both traditional and social media, will be leveraged to drive public action that will accelerate the realization of the fundamental rights of children in Uganda, especially the most deprived.