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Children’s Participation in Uganda
Detail: Uganda recently joined the rest of Africa to commemorate the Day of the African Child under the theme "Child Participation: Children to be seen and heard." Uganda has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. It has domestically promoted two legal instruments in amending the Constitution and in creating the Children's Act. But despite these efforts, Uganda still lacks a national framework to mandate child participation.

Children actively participated in social, cultural, political and economic life in traditional African society. But currently most Africans view the participation of children as an alien concept. Children continue to grow in an environment that does not promote participation. In the family setting, children are not encouraged to participate. In schools, they are told to listen and only speak when asked. Children also learn not to challenge ideas or concepts considered tough by their teachers. This discourages initiative and independent thinking and ultimately affects their growth and development.

To truly promote children’s participation, the Government needs to set up strong mechanisms at national level to facilitate child participation in the design, execution, monitoring and evaluation of child-centered policies and programs. Children can help in monitoring and evaluating programs like the Universal Primary Education and the Direct Cash Transfer Scheme for vulnerable families. Establishing children’s parliament such as those in Ethiopia will also be a step in the right direction.

Children who are actively involved in children’s parliaments raise awareness on child abuse and child rights. Members of these children's parliaments can grow to be transparent, democratic and accountable leaders.
Source: Africa News, June 15, 2008 Sunday
Date: June 17 2009