Amuru, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Amuru district has partnered with Makerere University to prevent violence against children.
Makerere University through the Child Health Development Centre has signed a two-year project, Parenting for Respectability with Lamogi sub county in Amuru district and is being implemented by SOS Children’s Village in Gulu city.
Through the project, the Child Health Development Centre is charged with training and skilling parents, opinion leaders, and leaders on good parenting and child upbringing, violence-free societies, and family relationships.
Godfrey Otto, the program director SOS Children’s Village Gulu says that they have currently embarked on training dozens of selected community facilitators on child health care, good parenting, and morals among children.
He explained that the project seeks to curb teenage pregnancies, school dropouts, violence against children, early marriages and criminal activities such as substance and drug abuse which is reportedly high in Amuru district.
Otto added that a recent survey conducted in Amuru district discovered high cases of teenage pregnancies, abuse of children, and early marriages in Amuru district, something that is heavily attributed to poor parenting, domestic violence, and poverty among others.
Dr Godfrey Siu, a lecturer at the Makerere University Child Health and Development Centre says that the project targets more than 1,000 families in Lamogi sub county and has so far equipped more than 56 community facilitators of all genders in positive ways of child upbringing, denouncing violence and positive family lifestyles.
He added that the project seeks to break the cycle of violence, criminal activities, and violence against children in the community which can manifest if uncontrolled.
Margret Akot, a mother of six and one of the trained community facilitators in Agwayugi parish said that she has been equipped with more lenient ways of controlling children like counselling, giving them time and positive behavioural change rather than recently when she thought beating was the only way.
Denis Ogenrowt, a father of two in Lacor Parish says that many parents in his area are struggling with nurturing their children since they believe that beatings, intimidation, and threats are the best ways.
Atkinson Ojara, the Lamogi sub county chairperson where the first phase of the project is being implemented says that the initiative is welcoming and timely since the district is battling several cases of violence against children like teenage pregnancies, early marriages, conflicts with the law, child abandonment, and physical violence among others.
According to statistics from the police in Aswa River region, at least 1,253 cases of violence against children were registered in the Acholi sub-region within six months this year.