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In much of northern and eastern Uganda, 20 years of civil war took a heavy toll on children. It is estimated that as many as 26,000 children were abducted, raped and forced into servitude and military combat.

But relative peace has now returned, and Uganda is one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa.

It is also the country with the world’s most youthful population, with children younger than age 15 accounting for more than half of the population. And many are still recovering from the effects of the country’s two decades of conflict as well as its high incidence of HIV and AIDS.

ChildFund has served children in Uganda since 1980.

From birth to 5 years is the most critical time of development in a child’s life. In Uganda, we have built more than 70 Early Childhood Development Centers in 40 communities to promote children’s cognitive, social and motor development. Communities are vital to the success of the centers; parents contribute much of the food their children consume at the center, help take care of (and sometimes even build) the facilities and ensure there are volunteers to work in them.

The centers also provide regular child and maternal health services, including routine immunization, growth monitoring, training on the prevention and control of infectious disease and hygiene education. While the centers provide students with nutritious meals, they also operate demonstration gardens and kitchens to work with community members to develop a more nutritious diet.

In schools, teachers and school counselors are sensitized about how best to support orphans and vulnerable children, many of whom are HIV-positive and have experienced the death of a parent or caregiver. Activities include school counseling desks, supporting infrastructure development and basic school facilities, providing vocational training for out-of-school youth, promoting adolescent health and HIV/AIDS prevention and supporting music, dance and drama performances on themes like gender-based violence, girls’ education and child rights.

ChildFund Uganda’s health interventions are focused on disease control, reproductive (maternal and adolescent) health and family planning, and water, sanitation and environmental health. Malaria, respiratory infections and diarrhea are the primary causes of death for children under 5 in Uganda.

Malaria interventions focus on training community members to provide community-based treatment and working with government health units. ChildFund’s malaria prevention program teaches children and families the importance of using treated bed nets to avoid exposure. Prevention activities include providing treated mosquito nets to children and pregnant women. ChildFund also has supported 50 community-based organizations to provide immunizations, diarrhea and malaria prevention services and access to clean water and proper sanitation.

An estimated 1.2 million children and adults in Uganda are living with HIV or AIDS, 64,000 of whom die annually. Treatment is difficult to access, and young people are left without parents or caregivers. ChildFund’s efforts around HIV and AIDS thus remain an important component of its work in Uganda.

At a national level, ChildFund Uganda’s priority HIV/AIDS interventions focus on behavioral change by providing information, education and services to young people and their communities. Communication campaigns aimed at youth, parents, teachers and community leaders have been developed to promote HIV/AIDS education in schools, facilitate parent-child discussions, work with the media to promote facts and support the creation of performances and discussions in communities through drama and sporting activities.

The ChildFund livelihood security strategy is designed to support parents and caregivers in mitigating the effects of poverty, HIV and AIDS and conflict on children. Interventions include promoting entrepreneurship skills, developing savings and loan systems, working with partners to teach farmers how to improve production, providing start-up farm inputs and seeds and supporting vocational skills training.

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  • June 5, 2009

    5 years old

  • Uganda


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