Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | As children mentorship programs gain popularity and organizers start earning big from initiatives, the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development says many of them are holding these as commercial ventures and are not guided on what exactly they are passing on to children.
Innocent Byaruhanga, the Assistant Commissioner in charge of family affairs in the ministry says that it’s not clear what exactly children learn at the mentorship programs even as organizers of such initiatives say they are bridging a parenting gap and yet are charging huge sums of money.
Popular among the mentor-ship programs is the Kisakatte organized by Buganda Kingdom where children converge at specified places during holidays and are taught among others home chores like peeling, preparing a traditional Buganda meal among others.
Recently other people have joined in targeting different individuals and equipping children with different skills.
The Boy mentorship program which teaches boys of age 17 and below issues ranging from how to boost confidence through mastering the art of public speaking, defending themselves when faced with a crisis in addition to male roles in a home or society has previously been on the spot for its militaristic boot camp program where critics said children are taken through drills that are not appropriate for their age.
Godfrey Kuteesa, the brain behind this programme says such initiatives are a vital part of society now as the social fabric is getting eroded and yet parents are too busy leaving children unattended to.
He has now come up the girl’s mentorship program that is run by his female colleague. The girl’s mentorship wing held their initial boot camp in December where girls were taken through a number of activities including housekeeping, personal hygiene and expression.
The ministry says moving forward to engage in such, individuals need to seek clearance and guidance from the ministry, something that hasn’t been happening.