Contributing to the Reduction in Worst Forms of Child Labour in Gulu and Wakiso Districts
In November 2013, Huys Link Community Initiative (HUYSLINCI) secured financial support from Cordaid-Netherlands to execute a project towards contributing to the reduction in the worst forms of child labour. The project aimed at complementing efforts towards reduction in worst forms of child labour in Wakiso District perpetrated by child trafficking. In this regard, the project interventions were proposed to be extended to Unyama sub-county of Gulu district in Northern Uganda, and lasted for 1 year.
The project outcomes were:
Three hundred (300) children of school going age were reintegrated into formal schools with whom Memoranda of understanding (MoUs) were signed, while 200 older ones were equipped with marketable vocational skills.
2. An interest /needs assessment of the child-beneficiaries made and their choices harmonized along the marketable vocational training courses among older youths. Additionally, a market survey and analysis of marketable vocational skills was conducted with which the interests of child beneficiaries were harmonized.
3. Community capacity strengthened and participation enhanced to address the challenge of hazardous/worst forms of child labour through awareness creation on hazardous child labour.
Consultative and awareness meetings with village councils in the targeted areas held and these spoke about the immediate, medium and long term effects of child labour, the rights and obligations of and towards children, and how to deal with the problem of child labour based on community suggested and conventionally accepted approached to dealing with the challenge.
4. Mapped out partners to play a complementary role in the provision of other services to project beneficiaries for project sustainability. We additionally, signed MoUs with local artisans and vocational centres to absorb older children among the beneficiaries identified that were withdrawn from child labour.
5. Households’ ability to effectively deal with the challenges of worst forms of child labour in the targeted communities of Wakiso District was strengthened through social protection measures by making use of an integrated area based approach. As such, 100 most vulnerable households supported with income generating activities identified using tools developed in a community consultative meeting including poultry, piggery, goat rearing, trade, modern small scale crop production, bricket making, liquid soap making, energy saving stove making, candle making, etc
6. HUYSLINCI’s performing capacity to respond to the evolving needs of all children in difficult circumstances was enhanced mainly through improving the M+E and Governance systems.
Also, carried out a baseline survey on child trafficking in the war-torn Northern Uganda and its effects to children’s destiny in hazardous work which informed the choice of approaches to dealing with the problem of child labour in the area.
Engagement of Most at Risk Populations (MARPs) to scale up comprehensive Evidence–based HIV Prevention in 4 selected Sub-Counties of Wakiso District.
Supported by Civil Society Fund (CSF)
With the existence of a multitude of factors that fueled new HIV/Aids infections in Uganda to worrying levels and Wakiso District being in the spotlight due to its multifaceted characteristics i.e. urban, rural and semi-urban that offer platform to all sorts of activities, formal and informal, legal and illegal, overt and covert, HUYSLINCI secured a 3 year funding from the Civil Society Fund (CSF) from October 2013 to implement a project titled: Engagement of MARPs to scale up comprehensive Evidence–based HIV Prevention in 4 selected Sub-Counties of Wakiso District.
The project was implemented in 27 parishes that make the Sub Counties of Mende, Ssisa, Nabweru and Kasanje, all in Wakiso District.
Target population: Fisher folk, Boda boda riders, Youth-out-of school and Sex workers in hard-to-reach fishing communities. The total population in project area was 395, 900.
189,400 of them
are Male and 206,500 are Women. 15% of them (59,100 people) were reached
Results:1. Empowered 4,500 members of the fishing communities of Wakiso to ably and consistently demand for quality HIV/AIDs services and claim inclusive delivery of the services within the 3 years of the project.
To achieve that, we worked with local government structures to reach-out to the community, used local government technical departments to facilitate some capacity building interventions and gave training to the most at risk populations on HIV Prevention responses to unique concerns of targeted populations. Among the categories that were empowered/trained included: Boda boda stage leaders, youth councilors, representatives of youth out of school, local leaders, Beach Management Units (BMUs), bar owners and VHTs.
Thanks to Mildmay and TASO Uganda for supporting our efforts especially in regards to Health Systems Strengthening at local level.
2. Empowered and supported the adoption of safer sexual behaviours/practices among 25,500 most at risk populations including but not limited to youth out-of-school, boda boda riders, fish folk and commercial sex workers (CSWs) in bars, in the 4 targeted sub-counties within the fishing communities of Wakiso district during the 3-year project.
To achieve that, we used IEC materials tailored to unique concerns of the targeted populations (10,000), worked with community volunteer committees (CVCs) and village health teams (VHTs) to enhance monitoring mechanisms; made and supported care and referral mechanisms to ensure comprehensive and holistic utilization of HIV services; made publicity drives using the HUYSLINCI brass band, worked with the youth and savings and loan associations for safe male circumcision (SMC), confidential BCC sessions and day and moon-light HCT mobilization and community dialogues through films and documentaries on behavioral change. We also established and equipped 150 strategic condom distribution centers which are still functional
Thanks to our partners: AMREF for SMCs; ICOBI for HBHCT; MJAP for HCT, Uganda Cares for HCT and BCC services
3. Contributed to the creation of an enabling environment that mitigates underlying factors for the spread of HIV epidemic among fishing communities of Wakiso District during the 3-year project.
We did that through TOT workshops against SGBV among targeted populations, conducted interface meetings to build partnerships and seize public gatherings to campaign against socio-cultural drivers for HIV.
In the TOT workshops we empowered 40 community representatives as SGBV ambassadors and advocates who included: local leaders, religious leaders, leaders for boda boda riders, beach management committees, healthy workers and Police officers in charge of children and family affairs.
We also held TOT workshops for youth out of school on SRH.
Our main target groups in this regard were: Fisher folk and fishing community members, Boda boda riders, youth.
Thanks to CEDOVIP and Entebbe Women's Association (EWA) for partnering with us in ensuring the success of this intervention.
4. Built/strengthened the capacity of local HIV prevention structures, health systems and NGOs/CBOs towards adopting a well-coordinated HIV prevention response for the fishing communities during the 3-year project.
We did this through the training of peer educators and capacity building for local structures to create arena for ongoing HIV prevention responses and as such, 200 Peer Educators for Youth-out-of-school, CSWs and boda riders on PHDP were trained, facilitated learning and experience sharing retreats for the trained peer educators; trained 200 existing VHTs and community-based counselors, health workers and BMUs to offer ongoing support in consideration of the exclusive HIV drivers; and conducted quarterly and annual partnership and review meetings for NGOs/CBOs involved on HIV prevention for better HIMS and devising effective coordination mechanisms for the cause.
Our target groups were: Fisher folk, Boda boda riders, CSWs and youth out-of-school
Thanks to DAC, Community Development Departments, sub-county technocrats for the support in executing that agenda.
5. Worked towards improved dignity, quality and length of life of PLHIV in fishing communities during the 3-year project.
In doing so, we worked with our community volunteer committees (CVCs) and VHTs to enhance monitoring mechanisms and mobilization; and Care and referral for comprehensive and holistic utilization of HIV services.
Working with the CVCs and VHTs, we were able to ensure regular referrals for contrimoxazole, TB screening, and home-based care services, conducted quarterly risk reduction counseling sessions to PLHIV in the project area, generated a list of social protection schemes for PLHIV’s economic empowerment and indeed supported them with viable income generating ventures like piggery, goat rearing, trade, commercial vegetable gardening, art and crafts, etc.; and undertook home-based visits to PLHIV for counseling and psychological uplift.
Thanks to our partners: Kajjansi Health Center III, Ndejje Health Center IV, Entebbe Hospital, Katabi Military Hospital, Kisubi Hosipital, Buyege Health Center IV and Kasanje Health Center IV for PMTCT, HCT, family planning, antenatal care, ongoing care and support.
Youth Empowerment for Human Rights Observance, Monitoring and Reporting (YEHROM) Project - 1st December 2011 to 31st March 2014.
Supported by the Independent Development Fund (IDF)
The goal of the project was: Improved observance, monitoring and reporting of human rights violations in Wakiso District.
The interventions of the project aimed at contributing to the improvement in the promotion and protection of human rights by strengthening the capacity of the different stakeholders to observe, monitor and report human rights violations.
The project was set out to address the overwhelming post electoral human rights concerns that included arbitrary arrests; restriction of freedom of expression and opinion; violent suppression of lawful assemblies organised by opposition candidates which end up in killing of innocent children by ‘stray bullets' and subjecting opposition political party supporters to inhumane and degrading treatment; mob justice which is quite often witnessed with property destruction and infringement on the right to life and security of a person; malpractices and rigging of votes which had been witnessed during elections in Uganda – a thing that violates the right of citizens to elect their leaders through free and fair elections; among others. A case of Mob justice was witnessed at Busambaga village when a youth killed his father and the community killed the youth in turn. Other cases of human rights violations mentioned above had been witnessed during the subsequent by-elections and during the political violence which revolved around the primacy of state institutions, allegations of fraud and malpractices, and the arguments about legitimacy that addresses the transparency and fairness of the electoral process and votes recounting.
The major cause of the continued human rights violations mentioned above was among the submissions of the Uganda Human Rights Commission during the Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights in Uganda (July 2011) that although there were various human rights protection mechanisms (i.e courts at village, parish, sub-county, district and national levels, Ombudsman, civil society and other national human rights institutions), these mechanisms had not sufficiently been utilized in honour of the due process of the law; and where there is keen interest by different stakeholders to seek for redress of violations meted out to the grass-root people, some of the human rights protection mechanisms at the grassroots had limited capacity to adequately protect and enforce human rights.
The specific project objectives were:
The project’s approach and methodology of empowering youth social groups in human rights observance, monitoring and reporting contributed to consolidating capacity of these groups to better understand how to implement Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA). Working with youth groups was an indiscriminately good method that brought on board youth of different social, economic, academic, religious, cultural backgrounds, enabling grass root human rights propagation. Unique to note is the ease with which some members of such groups, minding their low literacy levels grasped the basics of human rights. They could easily illustrate them in an easy-to-understand manner during village dialogues, techniques that peer educators assimilated into their routine, who sometimes appeared academic at such forums.
HUYSLINCI officially oriented 80 leaders of youth groups in basics of human rights.
and conducted periodic project review meetings:
The engagement of a broad range of human rights stakeholders during follow-ups and review meetings, including peer educators, youth social groups and opinion leaders, law enforcement officers, leaders/authorities and the technocrats built collaborative efforts and contacts for effective monitoring and reporting on human rights concerns within the project operational area. In addition, this methodology provided an opportunity for the stakeholders (rights-holders) to know their rights and government (duty-bearers) to be aware that the rights holders know their rights and can claim them, thus, the cause for respect and promotion of human rights. The collaboration has mainly been seen through the increased (number of) cases referred to police by peer educators, increased cases jointly handled by local leaders and peer educators, number of human rights sensitization meetings jointly held by peer educators, local leaders and police, number of alerts made by one category of human rights advocates to another informing them of the forthcoming human rights event e.g. seminars, meetings, etc. The above achievements were benchmarked after the training and orientation of peer educators and other human rights advocates, comparing their performance before the training and its improvement thereafter.
Through monitoring, follow up visits and project review forums, the HUYSLINCI project team gradually reinforced the knowledge of their human rights advocates and stakeholders through responding to matters that posed challenges to them, exposing them to additional human rights information and brainstorming on cheaper means through which human rights can be propagated, mainstreamed and issues handled expeditiously.
4. Offered Legal aid clinics:
Organizing Legal aid clinics was one of the project strategies to assist victims of human rights abuse to seek redress from the existing mechanisms. Accordingly, during the legal aid clinics, rights-holders were guided on legal procedures and relevant mechanisms to seek redress of the specific cases articulated during such activities. However, according to the project evaluation report, carrying out legal aid clinics was not a sustainable intervention. It was recommended that just like the commendable work done by peer educators in awareness raising and reporting on human rights violations/abuses in their respective communities, the project strategy should have considered training paralegals to sustain provision of the legal support/guidance services to victims of abuse.
These legal aid clinics were essential to ensure and promote legal procedures for human rights abuses and to encourage more effective reporting of cases of violence and abuse in the community. However, one of the most common challenges was the failure to follow up the cases reported. This was especially so because of the long distances that existed between those who sought justice and where they sought it e.g. police. There is therefore need to establish or revitalize periodic village level courts where magistrates and police could go to arbitrate and pronounce justice among conflicting parties to mitigate the failure of the poor-to-do communities to access such services.
Importantly, the implementation of the YEHROM project exposed need to empower communities economically for them to have means of acquiring due redress to their cases. It was observed that due to the high poverty levels among the people, majority inevitably had their rights terribly violated but without option to acquire justice.
Due to budget restrictions, bi-annual legal aid clinics were organised (4 clinics throughout 2 years of the project) but these were too few to fulfil the purpose for which the component was incorporated in the plan. An evaluation of the activity revealed that not once did any of the organised clinics respond to all inquiries/issues presented by participants due to time constraint. This was an indicator that many of such clinics deserved to be conducted although the means could not allow. HUYSLINCI then partly utilised village level meetings organised by peer educators and village leaders to respond to any cases that required professional guidance.
5. Engaged the public during commemoration of international youth and human rights days:
The human rights concepts are perceived to make young people disobedient in socio-cultural contexts where the young are expected to be submissive towards adults without questioning no matter whether the matter directly affects the child. In this regard, the project considered involving young people in the discourse of human rights concerns during the international human rights and youth days. This caused communities to appreciate advantages that knowledge about their children’s rights and entitlements can bring to their children as well as the wider community.
Thousands of stakeholders took part in events organized by HUYSLINCI in commemoration of the International Human Rights Day and youth day. This proved support for improved respect for human rights, increased human rights awareness and above all it caused for appreciation of the roles individuals ought to play realizing the tenets of the project as well as increased participation in monitoring and reporting on human rights.
Further, these events enhanced the building of reliable and wide networks for reliable allies in the cause for human rights promotion and protection. Field interviews demonstrated that through the fora, participants were able to identify with or build contact with institutions and individuals with whom to foster the project tenets. In this regard, following profound reconsiderations of the organization’s status due to the successful public engagement events supported by IDF, HUYSLINCI was nominated on the Wakiso District Human Rights Committee and received an orientation on how to engage in human rights observance and monitoring in the district.
6. Trained law enforcement officers:
The targeting of law enforcement officers helped to fine-tune the police officers' knowledge, awareness and practices within their scope of work to increase safety and reduce violence against inmates in the police custody. According to the HUYSLINCI M&E findings, the 121 law enforcement officers trained in human rights. 79% of police officers, through a preliminary assessment, confessed that they made no reference to human rights standards while doing their work/addressing human rights issues. The post training evaluation revealed a 99% mindfulness of human rights principles by the trained group. They also declared passing on the acquired knowledge to their colleagues who never directly went through the same training.
Peer educators and local leaders who made referrals of cases to police report good and hospitable reception of clients and quick attention to their complaints/cases something measured as a positive change and partly attributed to the project.
7. Trained local, religious and opinion leaders:
The local and religious leaders demonstrated that they are powerful allies in observation, monitoring and reporting of human rights. These leaders have broad access to the various categories of community members and have ongoing interventions that provide platforms for empowering communities to embrace the tenets of the project. Field visits and evaluation reports demonstrated that they have been in position to sensitize their constituencies.
Cases mainly reported to have been handled include: domestic violence and other social conflicts like bad debtors, hatred, land wrangles, child neglect and torture, etc.
The performance evaluation of the work of local leaders for example, revealed an increased number of cases handled expeditiously by local leaders due to the substantial knowledge and later, the confidence got through the empowerment process on human rights (knowledge breads confidence).
8. Facilitated Youths
experience sharing and learning retreats
This proved an important exercise that enabled merger of ideas, share of experiences, lessons, challenges and solutions to different teasing situations among youth and peer educators in their struggle to promote human rights. Done among previously trained and the newly trained human rights educators, such experience sharing meetings kept the formerly trained on board and active, gave them an opportunity to experience the new dynamics and the human rights situation at hand. The newly trained ones also got chance to learn of exceptional challenges and solutions in handling human rights cases.
It equally gave HUYSLINCI and participating groups chance to compare the different human rights situations from a broader perspective – knowing reasons for the dominance of specific human rights violations in the different Sub Counties and how best to encounter them like land grabbing in Ssisa, child labour Makindye Ssabagabo, Domestic violence in Entebbe Municipality and child neglect in Katabi Sub County.
9. Marking of international
human rights days
For the 2 years of the project, HUYSLINCI organised and participated in the marking of the International human rights day, forums that prompted debate on various human rights issues in the country, deriving lessons from as well as the way forward on dealing with them. The forums also created avenues for networking with other CSOs with whom joint action was done in awakening communities and the public to become mindful of the principles of human rights and to live by them. At such events, each CSO showcased their areas of focus and strengths, participants got to know who to approach for the various services and through this, plus other District arrangements, HUYSLINCI was appointed on the Wakiso District human rights committee, representing all Human rights CSOs in the District adding to previous such achievements like being the child rights cluster conveners for 2012 under the Human Rights Network.
With such achievements, HUYSLINCI ably commits to continuing with the promotion of Human Rights observance, monitoring, and reporting in Wakiso District and Uganda at large.
10. Used the media and other IEC material in the promotion of Human Rights
As part of the project design was the translation and distribution of IEC material. This included the translation of human rights handbooks into Luganda, the commonest language in central region. These books served as part of the peer educators’ kits, all level leaders and opinion champions and the lucky and resourceful members if the public. Posters campaigning against domestic violence, child neglect, child labour, etc were also produced.
HUYSLINCI also made use of radio talk shows and spot messages to pass on human rights messages to the public. Through these and such modes, HUYSLINCI was able to reach a diverse populace, captured diverse human rights scenarios from within and without the project jurisdiction that enabled her to refine her approaches time and again, while dealing with human rights. Feedback from such engagements and media was shared with key stakeholders at review meetings in preparation of them to be ready to face and deal with the various challenges in their localities and after the life of the project.
Further, the use of media publicised HUYSLINCI and the Independent Development Fund (IDF) with whom the promotion of Human Rights was done.
Youth-to-Youth Fund Administration, Uganda
In 2010, the Youth Employment Network collaborated with the ILO to deliver a youth entrepreneurship programme for East Africa entitled ‘Youth Entrepreneurship Facility’ (YEF). The programme was implemented in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya over 5 years (until the end of 2014) with the main objective being “To contribute to the creation of decent work for young Africans, both as a means of self-employment and as job creation for others”.
Through a competitive process, Huys Link Community Initiative (HUYSLINCI) was identified as the most suitable implementing partner in Uganda, a youth-led organization with more than ten years of experience in working with youth and youth CBOs.
HUYSLINCI’s suitability was based on her experience in implementing similar projects to those of the Y2Y Fund grantee projects on a large scale, having implemented vocational training, entrepreneurship training, and life skills training programs as well as facilitated youth savings and loan associations, and making grants for youth development. In September 2013, an agreement between HUYSLINCI and ILO was concluded that mandated the former to administer the Youth to youth fund for 15 months (ending December 2014).
The partnership combined HUYSLINCI’s strong background and knowledge on youth development and youth livelihood and entrepreneurship projects, and Youth Entrepreneurship Facility’s experience in making grants particularly for youth entrepreneurship development purposes, as well as solid expertise in entrepreneurship development and the support of other YEF components (entrepreneurship culture promotion and entrepreneurship education, access to Business Development Services (BDS) and finance and evidence based advocacy).
The direct recipients of funds were the officially registered non-governmental; not-for-profit youth led organizations in Uganda supporting youth entrepreneurship development who would facilitate young people in Uganda who have the potential to start, own or to improve their existing businesses.
Community Empowerment to Reduce Vulnerability of Children and Youth in the Fishing Communities of Wakiso District
Funded by Cordaid
Beneficiaries: Children aged 7-18yrs and Youths 15-25yrs.
Duration: January 2010 - December 2012 (3yrs)
The overall project objective was “To contribute to an environment conducive for the survival growth, development and participation of vulnerable Children and Youths in the fishing communities of Wakiso District”.
150 members from OVC and youth led households were trained in modern small-scale farming and supported to start and maintain subsistence and commercial garden.
150 OVC and youths household heads trained in income generation activities and basic business management skills with emphasis on saving. 100 of those who came up with creative busuiness ideas, legal, viable, sustainable and environmentally friendly were supported financially to start. Other 50 youths including child mothers, those withdrawn from prostitution, and those who headed families were enrolled and equipped with vocational skills like welding, hairdressing, tailoring, knitting, chalk making, liquid soap making, etc. as a mean for survival.
Trained staff from 40 childcare institution in OVC policy and legislation, standards, as well as resource mobilization for their functionality and sustainability of their work.
Taught 120 community volunteers and teachers from selected community primary and secondary schools in psychosocial support and care for OVC.
Skilled 120 selected local leaders in child related policies, inheritance laws and will writing; community sensitization on children rights and responsibilities,
Developed and disseminated guidelines for mainstreaming OVC in various sector programmes, and worked with Wakiso District in developing the district OVC strategic plan.
Developed and published a Wakiso District OVC service provider’s inventory/ directory.
Sensitised 80 sub-county leaders on the concept of Community Health Insurance and initiated a number of health insurance schemes at health centre level e.g. at Kisubi Hospital, Ndejje Health Centre IV, Kajjansi Health centre IV, among others
Reached and sensitized over 4,800 members of the community on the importance of community Health Insurance Schemes.
By and large, the project helped in:
vulnerable groups particularly
those in the fishing communities of Wakiso District with well coordinated and
effective mitigation programmes.
raising the level of awareness on Community Health Insurance Scheme in the fishing communities of Katabi and Kasnje Sub-counties, Wakiso District by the end of the project.
Shoes for Health Initiative
Huys Link Community Initiative partnered with Management Sciences for Health (MSH) to implement a USAID funded Strides project titled “Shoes for Health”.
As such, HUYSLINCI received and distributed 1,000 pairs of shoes to vulnerable children in her partner primary schools as well as in the Katabi Community -Wakiso District.
The project also involved sensitization of children and adults on the necessity to maintain high levels of hygiene in homes and in the community, talking about the benefits for proper hygiene as well as the effects of poor hygiene.