Janet: Why I Stopped NGO Food Aid in Karamoja

The First Lady and Minister for Karamoja Affairs Janet Museveni has asked telecommunications regulator, price story Uganda Communications Communication (UCC), advice to launch a national awareness campaign on cyber security to educate children and parents on child online protection.

Janet Museveni was speaking at the closure of the two-day Africa Child Online Protection Summit at Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort where she was the chief guest on Tuesday.

She said child online protection is important to both leaders and parents and needs to be addressed as matter of urgency.

“A very important and key player in this fight is, of course, the family – the parents, sisters, brothers and others in our homes who may themselves be active internet users. On access, things have changed profoundly in recent years such that internet pornography can be accessed anywhere and at any time,” said Janet.

She noted that though the internet has positively affected people in the area of education, facilitated online transactions and has also made available expert medical services through telemedicine, it has also had a negative impact on the innocence of children. “Our children are being directly exposed to online content that is detrimental to their young minds and we must move to regulate it and curtail its harmful effect,” she advised.

The First Lady said parents have been left out and many of them have no clue regarding the danger their children may be exposed to and that all stakeholders need to work together to prevent children from accessing pornography and to educate them about keeping safe online.

“I therefore request UCC to cause a national campaign or awareness drive to be launched in collaboration with the industry to bring this matter to the nation’s attention,” said Janet.

She added: “I would also like to suggest that we go even further and consider inclusion of this subject in the national curriculum requirements to teach children about online safety. This would mean giving young children sensible, age-appropriate education about what to expect on the internet,” said Janet.


She noted that there is need to teach children not just about how to stay safe online, but also how to behave on social media and over telephones with their friends.

“The reality is that we cannot deny children access to some of these communication devices, therefore we need, rather, to educate them concerning the dangers of access to bad material online. Ultimately, we should be able to make it absolutely clear to any offender that there is no such thing as a safe place on the internet to access child abuse material,” said Janet.

Mrs Janet Museveni also called for tight regulation of the internet just like other industries.

“I have nothing against the notion of open and free internet. But just as we regulate other industries, for example restricting children from viewing certain channels on our TV sets, going into bars or cinema houses, or from buying items meant for adults or having adult experiences, I believe we must also regulate the internet in order to protect our children,” she said.

She added that this is to ensure that there is a balance between freedom and responsibility, and “it is our responsibility to determine such parameters”.

Responding to Janet’s call, UCC Executive Director, Godfrey Mutabazi, said they are beginning the campaign next year.

“We are going to draw a national sensitization roadmap so that we begin the campaign early next year. Thirty percent of Uganda’s population uses internet which is about 11 million people. This is a significant audience that we should begin with to spread the gospel on cyber security,” said Mutabazi.

Mutabazi said the campaign will involve various stakeholders like teachers, parents, pupils and students, schools, opinion leaders and civil society organizations to make sure that the exercise is all inclusive.

Mutabazi said UCC has so far set up 1000 ICT laboratories in schools across the country and of these, 600 are connected to internet. He added that 2000 teachers are already equipped with ICT skills.

ICT minister, John Nasasira, said government has undertaken a number of initiatives on child online protection. This includes enactment of Computer Misuse Act, 2011 which criminalizes child pornography, cyber harassment, offensive communication, cyber stalking and cyber bullying.

“So we can say that we have done our bit in putting the legal framework in place. What is missing is widespread awareness among all stakeholders about the law as well as enforcement and technical mechanisms to combat this threat,” said Nasasira.

The summit, the first of its kind in Africa, was organized by International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the United Nations specialized agency for ICTs, to which Uganda is a member. It was attended by 185 participants from 21 countries and 11 International Organizations.

In 2008, ITU launched the Child Online Protection (COP) initiative as a multi-stakeholder effort within the Global Cyber security Agenda (GCA) framework.

The initiative brings together partners from all sectors of the global community to create a safe and empowering online experience for children around the world.

COP takes a holistic approach to promoting child online safety, developing strategies that span five key areas – legal measures, technical and procedural measures, organizational structures, capacity building and international cooperation.

The First Lady and Minister for Karamoja Affairs Janet Museveni has advised residents in Kayunga district to ensure that they work hard and fully utilize the available resources around them to fight poverty in their families.

Mrs. Janet Museveni was on Saturday at Kitimbwa C/U Primary School in Bbaale County Kayunga District where she presided over celebrations to mark 15 years of Kitimbwa Child Development Centre a Project funded by Compassion International.

She noted that many people in the area and the country at large were still trapped under poverty despite the prevailing peace and available natural
resources in the country. “There is no reason why Ugandans of this generation should be trapped under poverty given the fertile soils we have and the prevailing peace in the country and the government programmes like NAADS and SACCOs that allow people to engage in production and trade, for sale ” Mrs. Janet Museveni said, sildenafil adding that when other people come to Uganda they look at what we have as a blessing from God and they wonder how locals are trapped under poverty with such wealth surrounding them. “Earning a living requires a lot of focus and hard work because even God said man shall eat from his sweat, diagnosis ” she said.

She encouraged the young people to be innovative and create their own jobs instead of wasting their time playing pool tables in trading centres like she always sees them in areas she goes to and wonders where such people get money for gambling.

She advised Ugandans to stop waiting to be given everything by people from developed countries saying it is high time Ugandans worked for themselves to sustain their family needs. “As you know I work in Karamoja but when I went there, I refused to pity the people in the area that they are poor and they needed to be given everything including food by NGO’s. I instead encouraged them to grow food themselves and they took my words and they are now feeding their communities,” Museveni said explaining that people needed to change and stop living in a mediocre lifestyle. “Now is the time to change our work methods so that our children find a better Uganda.”

She commended the people of Kitimbwa for caring for the vulnerable saying the dignity of an area depends on how people look after the disadvantaged in society.

She laid a foundation stone for the construction of a Resource Centre and also gave a contribution towards the cause.

The project director for Kitimbwa Child development Centre, Allan Senyimba said the Centre takes care of over 200 children and provides them with school fees, housing support, clean water, food supplements among other things. He explained that the Centre had embarked on sensitizing parents on the importance of educating their children as most people in the area do not care about
the education of their children.

Kitimbwa Child Development Centre was established by Compassion International in collaboration with Mukono Church of Uganda Diocese in 1999 to support develop needy children in the area.

The celebrations were also attended by the State Minister for Elderly and Disability Affairs Sulaiman Madada, the Country Director Compassion International Lenny Mugisha, members of the clergy from Mukono Diocese and Kayunga district officials.


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