Government will soon deregister over 7,000 non-active non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in a bid to stream the sector.
Mr Owor Osinde, the Commissioner for Community Development in the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, said whereas the country has about 13,400 registered NGOs, only 6,000 are operational.
“We have very many NGOs in this country but the processes to know how many are active are ongoing. We don’t want to deceive this country that we know how many are active but we think only about 6,000 are active,” Mr Owor said at a workshop held by Joy For Children Uganda, an NGO, in Kampala on Wednesday.
Mr Owor said the Gender Ministry has encouraged districts to form up District NGO forums to establish the functionality and programs of NGOs. He said NGOs numbers increase every year but many have spent two or more years without engaging in any activities thus making it difficult for the government to know whether they seized operations or not.
“Our ministry [Gender] hopes to address issues of child marriages through partnering with NGOs involved in community work also known as social development. 80 percent of these NGOs are majorly in social development activities. If we know which NGOs are active and where they are found, it would be easy for us to partner with them to empower communities to fight child marriages,” Mr Owor said.
The workshop sought to devise means to end child marriages.
Ms Everline Inzikuru, Amani Initiative NGO based in Maracha District, said efforts against child marriages in her district were being hampered by transfer of Community Development Officers (CDOs), child and family protection police officers.
“If an officer handling a defilement case is transferred, it becomes difficult for such a case to progress. In most cases the new ones say they won’t handle cases they never started and it requires a new process or a lot of explanation and persistence for the case to resume,” Ms Inzikuru said.
Maracha District has a total population of 186,134 of which 87,900 (47.2%) are males and the rest females. Ms Inzikuru said14.2 percent of females aged 12-19 in Maracha have ever given birth whereas 13.8 percent of females aged 10-19 have ever been married.
In response to Maracha and other district where child marriages are high, Mr Owor said there was need to empower people who have been identified as being committed to community service like sensitizations against child marriages and teenage pregnancies.
Mr Owor said Karamoja, Busoga and Tororo were still on top as far as child marriages is concern. He added that the Gender ministry records 20 cases of child marriages per day totaling to 600 every month.