Vi refererte fra denne rapporten på årsmøtet 5. mai. Ønsket fra årsmøtet var at hele rapporten skulle legges ut på hjemmesida. Rapporten er på engelsk, og innledningen kan være litt tung å lese. Selve rapporten fra prosjektet starter midt på side 3. Den inneholder mye stoff om barns situasjon, og beskriver starten på vårt prosjekt. Skolegruppa trakk denne konklusjonen etter å ha behandlet rapporten: Barns situasjon i Uganda er enda verre enn vi trodde. Vi er derfor svært glad for at prosjektet er i gang.
Vår samarbeidspartner i Uganda er firmaet BAGRO. Den som har hovedansvaret for undervisningen er Lillian Kobusingye og er jurist.
AN ACTIVITY REPORT FOR THE KIRALAMBA PRIMARY SCHOOL CHILDREN RIGHTS TRAININGS FIRST TERM 2015
BAGRO Investments Uganda Limited is a company based and registered in Uganda with head offices in Kampala and operating across the country. It is established with an aim of promoting and providing business in Uganda especially in produce production, marketing and sales, processing, and consultancy services. The Bagro Consultancy services aims at extending professional consultancy using experts in the various areas of interest. For this project, Bagro will employ a team of skilled persons with the necessary expertise to promote children rights education in the most appropriate manner that respects the roles of various stakeholders such as parents, teachers and community leaders so as to achieve a better understanding of the rights and roles of the children.
Children Rights Education Program is an initiative of concerned educators from Norway who have been supporting education of the children in Uganda. However, in the course of their support for education, they observe that children rights have not been given due attention especially as regarding the equipping of the children with the necessary knowledge about their rights and responsibilities which is key for nurturing a society that respects the rights of one another. As a result, they have chosen to make a partnership with Bagro Investments a Ugandan company which has a team of skilled people with knowledge of human rights and the law to implement the project.
Norwegian Friend of Uganda (NOFU) has been supporting schools in Uganda since the 1990s especially with construction of school buildings. With the zeal to support the children of Uganda to attain a better education and a bright future, NOFU members learnt from their friendship schools that teachers were worried about the situation of the children particularly the girls. The worry of the teachers was basing on the fact that many young girls drop out of school because they have been defiled at a tender age before they could even complete Primary seven.
NOFU got concerned and decided to start children rights program aimed at enabling the children both boys and girls to understand their rights as a means of solving the problem of the gross abuse of their rights that has been so evident across the country.
Although NOFU supports three schools of Walukunyu, Kiralamba and Kalagala, it opted to make a pilot project in Kiralamba Primary School to engage the teachers, the parents and the children in understanding the rights of the children. To achieve this, NOFU contracted a professional organization – Bagro Investments Uganda Limited with a team of individuals who are knowledgeable about children rights education and the laws of Uganda to carry out the project. Bagro is charged with the responsibility of training and nurturing the teachers of the school to teach children’s rights.
The project is known as “the Children’s Rights Project. Kiralamba Primary School, Uganda”
The purpose of the project is to stimulate stakeholder (parents, teachers, UNATU and leaders) to embrace the idea of mainstreaming children rights in the training of the children. This is premised on the fact that the government of Uganda ratified the UN convention on the rights of the children which requires the country to make children rights education a priority.
Schools are such an important avenue to impart skills and knowledge into the children since they congregate from different communities across the country and they provide peer protection amongst themselves given the fact that children may feel comfortable to communicate to their fellow children instead of adults. Children rights education among the children will contribute towards the development of children rights peer education through making those in the project areas understand their rights and ways of preventing themselves from abuse as well as identifying their rights and obligations.
Report Set up
This report comes as a contractual requirement for the implementation of a Children’s Rights training project for Kiralamba Primary School- Nakasongola district. This report is sub divided into four (4) subsections namely; initial efforts, the teachers, the parents and the students.
The report is based on the activities conducted, lessons learnt and the observations from our interaction with various stakeholders that were involved in the different activities.
- Initial Project Activities
This Children’s rights education program was designed in such a way that it involves the different stakeholders who are the keepers of the children. The stakeholders include the teachers, the parents, the school administration and management, Uganda police, the probation office, the education officers among others. As part of the preparation of this project, Bagro engaged different stakeholders to lobby their support and bring to their attention the challenge within the community of Nakasongola district. The very first meetings with the school management were successful and they blessed the project to continue.
In addition to the school management, we engaged the teachers and parents who also agreed to actively participate in the project since our success will entirely depend on their effort towards implementing children rights protection as they are the ones who live with the children on a daily basis. These meetings enabled us set a training schedule for the teachers and the parents and they set the days which they find convenient for them. We can say, that this stage was extremely successful as the project was highly appreciated and got support from the local community where our children stay.
In addition to the teachers and parents, we engaged the district leaders whose expectation from the project was quite overwhelming. Our first meeting with the district leaders was that with the District Education officer who acts as the district inspector of schools at the same time MR. Mbagire Sam who expressed a lot of optimism in the project and made the following remarks;
- That there is a missing link between schools and parents and that he saw our program as the bridge to involve parents in the affairs concerning their children while at school. He requested that we cover the entire district but we told him we were still piloting the project.
- That during the year 2014, a total of 156 P.7 who had registered for final exams did not do them because they had been made pregnant. He said this must have happened between May when they register and November when exams begin. He emphasised that the issue of child abuse is a great challenge and that our intervention was handy.
- After reading the concept that we shared with him, he admitted that the topics we have chosen have never been handled by any other organisation and that for government, it is very expensive for them to train all the school amidst other requirements.
- He feared that the Children Rights Education program could affect the support the school was receiving from NOFU. We emphasised that this project is aimed at supplementing what NOFU has already been doing with the school.
Another stakeholder we engaged was the Uganda Police where we met the Officer in Charge of the Nakasongola Central Police Station who introduced us to the head of the Child and Family protection Unit of Police. As an institution responsible for keeping law and order, Police was extremely happy that NOFU was coming in at such a critical time. Police made the following revelations to us;
- That Nakasongola district is notoriously known for practicing incest. That is it very common for fathers to engage in sexual activities with their daughters and even pregnant them. Both the OC station and the head of the Child and Family Protection Unit expressed this as a great challenge and the community seems to accept it as a normal practice.
- That there is a lot of juvenile sexual activities (young boys engaging in sexual relations with young girls) and yes as police they cannot do much since they don’t have cells for children and the law does not allow them to arrest children together with adults. They said the nearest Remand home where such children could be rehabilitated is Naguru in Kampala. Their expectation was that we train the whole district and also help them build a rehabilitation centre for the children. We also emphasised that we are piloting the project in Kiralamba Primary School and cannot promise any extension of the project before we see how it has worked and the source of funding.
We also engaged the office of the district Probation officer who is responsible for family and children affairs (social worker). The staff that we met there was also overwhelmed with cases of child abuse as they work hand in hand with the Child and Family Protection Unit of Police.
Inception of the project with teachers.
In abide to bring all teachers on board a commencement meeting was held during the time representatives of NOFU were visiting Uganda. The meeting was thus attended by 2 representatives of NOFU – Anne Carling and Aase, the project coordinator from Bagro Investments – Kobusingye Lillian and the Headmistress of Kiralamba primary school – Florence Adania. It is during this meeting that the contract between Bagro investments U limited and NOFU was signed. The head mistress was then explained to that her role was to help in mobilization of the parents and teachers because she is the link to enable the implementation of the project become a success.
The meeting agreed that before the trainings begin Bagro had to have meeting with district officials District education officers, probation officer, police OC station Child and family protection unit, UNATU among others to introduce the project to them. Bagro Investments proposed that it will prepare a concept note explaining what the project is about and it would be shared with the district officials. It was also pointed out in the meeting that the district officials especially the district UNATU representative should be invited for the trainings where they are needed. This is because the teachers are members of UNATU and thus their representative will be an added advantage to bring on board and also to share any other i8nformation related to the children’s rights
Florence pointed out that district officials need to be paid an allowance for the meetings they are invited to attend. Aase and Anne Carling agreed that 30,000=each is sufficient for the officials during the trainings, they suggested that the number of the officials to be invited should be communicated to NOFU on time so as to send the money to be given to the officials. Such expenditures are not part of the current contract but it is important to have them for the sustainability and ownership of the project even when the projects come to an end they can take it on from there.
The other concern raised as far as the project was concerned was the attitude of the parents and teachers considering their cultural practices in regards to human rights. The project coordinator assured the guests that during the trainings the objectives and goal of the project shall be explained to them to ensure they understand the benefits of the training not only to their children and to them as parents but to the community of Kiralamba and Uganda at large. To encourage and motivate the teachers the project coordinator suggested that at the end of the project all teachers are given certificates. However, those who would have excelled in the trainings need to be given a token of appreciation that will make them stand out of the rest of the teachers. The token could be in form of a bicycle if the facilitation allows and it could be labeled with the project name.
Teachers’ Expectations and Fears from the Project
- The teachers expect certificates at the end of the project.
- They expect to build their capacity from the qualified and skilled facilitators.
- Reduction in human rights abuse in their community.
- Change in attitude in regards to education.
- Transport refund after attending the training.
- Materials after the training
- Time keeping
- Misconception of the community about the project
- Transport refund and lunch not being provided
- Parents’ attitude.
2. The parents’ Training.
The facilitator gave a background to the project, its overall goal which is to contribute towards the Government of Uganda’s hard work to educate their young people. It was further explained to them that the geographical location of the project is mainly Kiralamba primary school and the target groups are parents, teachers and children and the partnership is between Kiralamba primary school and Bagro Investment Uganda Ltd for duration of 3 years and with financial support from Norwegian Friends of Uganda.
The methodology used in the training of parents was participatory in nature as a result of both question and answer and lecture method. The attendance chart for parents’ trainings held on 21st and 28th march 2015.
Attendance of the parents
This thus suggests that the trainings were both well attend by women who were 43 for the first training and 34 for the second training yet the men were 11 during the first training and 10 in the second training.
Scope of the Parents discussion/training
The following issues/topics were briefly covered to enable our target group have a fair understanding about the essence of children’s rights in their day to today life.
- Who is a child
- Introduction to children’s rights.
- Parents ‘responsibilities
- Roles of a parent in protecting the rights of the children
- A summary of the rights under the convention and other laws providing for rights and responsibilities of a child on the rights of the child
- What is child abuse?
- How to detect an abuse
- The forms of child abuse
- Who are the abusers of children
- Who to report to in case of an abuse
- Institutions that ensure that the rights of children are up held
- Effects of child abuse
- Poverty being a major phenomenon in the region, most of the children are denied their rights like care and parental love, right to education because of lack of the scholastic materials. Some parents confessed they do want to take their children to school but because they don’t have the means to do so they send them to urban areas so that they are employed as house boys or girls thus helping their homes financially. Despite the fact that the facilitator explained to them that not only do their actions amount to child labour which is criminal, they seemed to have little options to sustain their family.
- The parents seem to enjoy settling cases such as defilement and rape out of court the reason behind this is that the court system does not help them financially. So they assume that once the culprit gives them money then he can if he so wishes even live with the girl.
- The participants seemed to think that justice is for the rich despite explanation that child abuse crimes such as defilement are taken on by the state. This will change with time as different case studies are shared with them.
- According to the participants the local authorities in the area don’t seem to know their role as far as children affairs are concerned. This is because when there are abuses the local leaders seem not to be bothered.
- Some parents just have a negative attitude towards children’s rights while others lack knowledge about them. This has brought about conflicts between the children and their parents. For example, the parents noted that there is a student in the village that is under a study scholarship from compassion international however, the parent refused the child to go to school and instead told the child to start producing charcoal.
- The community members confess that they know child abuses or even children who have been abused but fear to be identified as people who took the matter to the police so they let the issue pass by like nothing happened.
- There is need for more training for parents and local leaders this is because it will take some time for them to appreciate that children’s rights and their responsibilities are not a concept of the rich, educated and foreign. What we covered was very brief yet there are other issues that relate to children’s rights that we did not talk about. Knowledge is power I believe its because of lack of knowledge that the community is bent on believing in their cultural ways of bringing up children. Once the sensitization sessions are carried out the community will not fear to report cases where violations have taken place because of fear of being victimised and isolated in the community. The leaders themselves will have known their role in protecting the children hence the project achieving its objective of promoting the rights of the children.
- The project should organize at least one day training for the local council leaders and teach them about child abuse and the legal provisions.
- There is need to involve the district officials in the trainings this will help improve the referral mechanism of any children’s right violation and it will also help in the sustainability of the project even in our absence because the community will know whom to call without fear of being isolated. It was important that the trainees get the basics and identify the problems that are affecting them before district leaders are invited.
- There is need to translate the materials such as books on human rights in the native language of the community .This will help them learn more even thus sustainability of the project.
In conclusion the parents thanked the partnership for bringing to them this long overdue training. They however asked that they are trained more because the little training they have had have woken them up as far as the law is concerned especially with regard to their children. The awareness sessions were successfully completed and parents were empowered with skills and knowledge to enable them demand for respect and uphold their responsibilities as parents, protection of children’s rights and techniques to overcome abuse and other challenging situations. Similar trainings should be organized at least every term so that we are able to truck success. Parents should have an avenue where they share success stories like if an abuser got arrested because of the knowledge a parent has gained, and then such a story needs to be shared to encourage others.
3. The Teachers’ Training
Bagro investments (U) Limited employs peer learning as a methodology for conducting training of trainers. This is whereby members share experiences, best practices and how to overcome challenges which is drawn from the various activities that they have been involved in such as teachers and members of the Kiralamba community. Peer learning reaffirms the confidence in members considering this is classified as adult learning education. Peer learning helps them polish up on where they may have gone wrong and also helps them on their presentation skills.
The method of training was brainstorming and lecture in nature. Materials used in preparation for the training include the national and international instruments on children; UNICEF, Uganda Human rights commission 17th annual report 2014 and case studies among others.
The teachers were able to;
- Express their expectations and fears during the training.
- Appreciate the purpose and objectives of the training.
- Set norms and regulations for the training.
The attendance was good enough, the number of teachers expected was 12 however 11 of them turned up for 3 training held. That is 4 males and 7 females for the first 2 trainings and the last training had 8 female and 3 males.
Issues discussed included
- The definition of a child.
- The history and objectives of the children rights statute.
- Rights and responsibilities of a child.
- Regional, national and international instruments relating to children’s rights and responsibilities
- Who are responsible for upholding rights of children
- Institutions that ensure that rights of the child are upheld and their roles.
- Child abuse definitions and its effects
- How to identify a child who has been abused
- What to do and where to go in case of abuse.
- The roles of different actors in observing children rights.
- Alternatives to corporal punishments.
- They are willing to learn thus speak from an informed point of view.
- The teachers in regard to the law prohibiting the canning of children in schools they had this to say; those laws were made by people who don’t understand the misbehaviour of children. They further said “those laws favour enlightened children because according to them some children are like wild animals and have thus defeated their parents in upbringing. They further said if they had not been beaten in school they would not have been the people they are today. The facilitator explained to the teachers that violent children may be a manifestation of violence in their homes. All the teachers expressed rigidity towards punishing children by beating, however this attitude will change as we discuss details of alternative ways of handling a stubborn and the law prohibiting corporal punishment (beating) in schools.
- However, we were able to come up with alternatives to corporal punishment before we looked at the handbook on alternatives to corporal punishment. This was an excellent session and they pledged to adopt them immediately and one of the suggestions that stood out was the need to have a counsellor in the school to help talk to children who are troubled and stubborn.
- The fact that they are going to be training children at the end of project, it’s important for them to be taken through all the necessary trainings before they actually start teaching. This is because the attitude they have will take some time to be changed so we need to ensure that they are trained well to be sure that they have understood the concepts that they will be advocating for.
- There is need to involve stake holders such as magistrates, police officers to facilitate some of these trainings. This will help in building the confidence of the teachers in the sense that they will then have to listen from duty bearers who implement what they have been studying as well as understanding that a teacher can be prosecuted for mistreating a child.
- NOFU should work with Bagro Investments to start developing an up to date Children’s Rights Training Manual that shall be handed to the teachers. This must have the illustrations, the examples and of good quality print.
- The Students Trainings
The facilitator started each training session with a light joke familiar to the children. The facilitator would introduce him/herself and also ask the students to introduce themselves one by one. The training for the children was more of storytelling, probing to find out what they know about their rights and the different forms of abuse. The students were as much as possible stimulated to share stories including jokes which are generally shared in families.
Environment setting is very important for today and even the future trainings so that they appreciate their contribution and not to fear to express their opinion…”each point mentioned is right” but can be improved!
The training for the pupils who for this project we refer to as “students” went on as planned. The method of training was however adjusted to meet each class alone which means that we met students of P.7, P.6, P.5, and P.4 alone and on different days. For the initial training which mainly focussed on creating a free learning environment with the students by establishing what they know about children’s rights as well as taking them through the initial topics of the training program. The students were all taken through;
- Introducing and discussing the rights of the children
- Introducing and discussing the Children’s responsibilities
- Introducing and discussing the forms of child Abuse
- Identifying potential abusers(defilers) and
- Identifying people who can be of help to a child in case he/she gets a problem
From the start of the trainings, we observed that the students were not comfortable with the presence of their teachers during the training. They were more reserved and calculated everything before they could share it with the rest of us. After identifying this as a challenge, we asked the teachers and the head teacher to leave us with the as soon as we have started the training. This changed the attitude of every student and they opened up to discuss what they knew about their rights, what they have experienced personally as we made clarifications about what they knew which was wrong or what they didn’t know at all.
The children knew about some of their rights by they didn’t know how they can achieve them. They knew that their parents, teachers and elders determined how they should enjoy their rights. For P.7 and P.6, they knew that the rights come from God and nobody else can give them or take them away.
All the children knew that it was right for their teachers to beat them at school. They said that they were beaten so that they can learn and some children reported to have been given more than five (5) strokes of a cane as a punishment. The information that being beaten was a form of abuse of their rights came as a surprise to them although everybody seemed over excited to hear it. This is a critical issue we have had to deal with and tell every category (parents, teachers and students) and inform them that we have told the other category during their training so that it is shared across board. A p.5 girl confessed that she had a friend who wanted to drop out of school because of being beaten although she did not reveal which school and class she was in but it clear that beating of children is a common practice and teachers make all efforts to justify it. The alternative forms of punishing a child which we introduced to them however appeared to be feasible to them and probably with time, they will abandon this corporal punishment.
The children knew people who abuse the rights of the children such as burning them and the girls in all the classes (P.4, P.5, P.6, and P.7) all complained of a group of men who sit near their school and tell them sexual related words almost everyday and promise to give them money if they allow to go to their homes. This was a serious issue as almost every young girl had a statement to tell about them and they girls have never told anybody else except during the training. They said that if they told their parents or teachers, they would blame them. This shows lack of trust and fear that adults surround themselves with fear that children would rather die with a problem or fall into a dangerous trap than telling an adult.
We reported this group to the headmistress and asked her to take them on with the local leaders and police. For two times, the students were waiting for us to show us the gang of boys that they are talking about. The headmistress said that she reported to local leaders to warn them. Bagro will make a follow up during our work for 2nd term as we know that defilers use a psychological approach to lure young girls into sex.
the two photos were taken form the same class almost at the same time. The one above was taken during the presence of the teachers and the one below was taken after the teachers had left the class. These two groups of students seem to be very different yet it is the same class in different moods.
We also observed that the local language was best understood and therefore we changed our strategy from English to use Luganda including making a translation for almost everything that we wrote down. It is always best to communicate in a language that people understand best.
- A command approach to the children is limiting their ability to open up adults when they are faced with challenges. They are willing to open and talk about the abuses they face if there is a listening person who will not blame them for being victims.
- The children seemed more interested in recording contacts that can help them in case of danger as they asked for our phone numbers
- Some forms of child abuse such as child sacrifice and trafficking seemed to be unfamiliar to them which make them vulnerable to the perpetrators.
- Other trainings should be organised so that more details bout children’s rights are taught to them. Defilement and incest were found to be bigger problems in the area and therefore they need to be discussed in detail by examining their negative consequences. Video shows need to be organised so that they see for themselves.
The first phase of the project implementation has been largely successful and highly appreciated. There are positive signs of a people who are tired of a situation and what they are waiting for is information and knowledge on how to avoid situations or address certain challenges. We highly recommend that the Project is adjusted to cover other key stakeholders such as members of the judiciary, police and local council leaders because they are they implementers of laws and policies. Police seems to be overwhelmed with the problem and therefore looking for an ally who help them reach out to the community.
Part of our program should target the outreach (society outside the school) because our the information we are sharing with the parents and teachers and students could be shared by a larger population who maybe defenders of our children or even abusers.
Lillian Kobusingye Ruhweza Patrick
Project Coordinator – Bagro Investments Director – Bagro Investments