Following the completion of the review of the National Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children (OVC) policy of 2004 under the stewardship of the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Cabinet on Monday 22nd June 2020 approved a National Child Policy that integrates all children related issues.
Speaking to reporters at Uganda Media Center on Tuesday, the State Minister for Youths and Children Affairs Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi said that the policy is intended to foster rights of children and services provided by Government and non-State actors.
“The National Child Policy is to foster child rights friendly, holistic and coordinated services provided to children by Government and non-State actors,” said Nakiwala.
Although the Ministry of Gender has for 17 years been implementing OVC policy whose goal was to ensure full development and realization of the rights of orphans and other vulnerable children, the OVC policy Nakiwala said was narrow owing to its focus on orphans and other vulnerable children.
With the expiry of second National strategic Programme of intervention in 2015/16 financial year, the OVC policy has no attendant plan that addresses emerging challenges faced by children for instance online sexual abuse, genital mutilation, child sacrifice, increasing vulnerability of children, urbanization among others.
In order to address the problem of child vulnerability, a highly consultative process was carried out to seek views from key stakeholders such as Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in areas of Local Government, Finance Planning and Economic Development, Health, Education, private sector, civil society, religious and cultural Institutions among others during the review of OVC policy of 2004.
Among the key issues raised during the consultative process include limited scope of OVC policy 2004 since it focused on orphans and vulnerable children thus needed to be reviewed to take care of all children in Uganda, need to harmonize and strengthen the Institutional framework and limited availability of data on child rights indicators at national and sun national level.
This Nakiwala said was vital to review the OVC policy.
“Therefore, it was important to review OVC policy that takes care of all children in Uganda while addressing the challenges that had been identified,” she said.
Uganda’s population is largely a young one with over 56% of the population under 18 years. Of these, approximately 51% are either critically or moderately vulnerable while 63% (14.4 million children) live with caregivers other than biological parents.
More than 56% (11.6 million children) are deprived of 6 or more things or activities deemed essential by the majority of Ugandans.
The new policy identifies 5 core priority areas to guide the attainment of set objectives, strategies and interventions and they include child survival and health, education and development, childcare and protection, child participation and systems strengthening to strengthen systems for planning, programming and delivery of quality child right friendly and comprehensive services to children to ensure their growth and development to full potential.
Minister Nakiwala Kiyingi speaking to reporters at Uganda Media Center on Tuesday.