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Child Rights and Protection Consultant
"This little light of mine, I am going to let it shine"
I am a qualified social worker with Master of Science degree in Development Management from the Open University in UK. I am a Child Rights and Protection Consultant and Analyst, with vast experience in community development and child protection. I have served communities as a volunteer, as a facilitator and as a coordinator of community efforts to ensure child well-being
I have expertise in training and research in child protection and I am passionate to see that findings from the different assessments and research exercise are fully utilised by various stakeholders to ensure that most vulnerable children live and grow in a well protected environment with over 80% reduction in the number of abuse cases.
Also, we will be quicker to strengthen existing structures, more than form new ones and we are looking at identifying those that have a government mandate so as to ensure continuity as well as community ownership. We are looking forward to enriching these systems with knowledge and skills so that they open their doors to richer member composition-making sure that both formal and informal actors are apart. We intend to be very intentional in making sure that relationships are built within the community so that we have rich connections amongst the people we can then move together as a community with special focus on ensuring that children thrive in a protective environment. We are mindful that the people we are working with are from low-income households. We want to explore ways of increasing household income by establishing community vocation learning points. There are already known business ventures that parents can engage in besides agriculture. We will call in partners to come and teach the parents in bead work, motorcycle riding because motorcycles are the most efficient and accessible means of transport in the community, and others as will be prioritised by the people
We can feed a child well, build them a home, give them toys etc but until we develop a community network of care, characterised by strengthened systems and structures that ensure that children are well protected, that community actions take into consideration the best interest of the child then our efforts will not be as fruitful. Julian Marembo, Sharon Nakanwagi, Joy Nannunja and Elizabeth Asiimwe, your additional thoughts here as we make our notion clearer
Building a community network is no easy achievement. It takes a lot of sensitivity in seeing that 1. The community stays at the forefront of every effort. 2. That the journey of transformation is meaningful to the people in a given context. This to us means that we are going to apply methodologies. We will not say we have designed our own but there are fairly new ones we have identified. I personally have tested them and rolled them out in East Africa and great community networks have been formed. Based on my learnings form these experiences, we will then incorporate and integrate learnings and come up with innovations. We would also love to touch all aspects of the child but with the growing trend of number of cases of abused children, we urgently need to focus on child protection. One of the most important elements of an effective child protection system is Coordination, collaboration and cooperation. Child protection efforts by design, require that different actors, both formal and informal (government and non-government come together to consolidate their efforts and address identified issues. Also, we will not move blindly. There is a proven assessment methodology called ADAPT that we will borrow and creatively use to identify the priority child protection issues in the community, their root causes-through a root-cause analysis as well as examine the strengths and gaps in the system based on the 7 elements of a child protection system. What we can say here is that we are going to use our expertise to innovate ways of executing these methodologies as well as design unique and rich interventions in the community. Then with our findings, we will work with local leaders and other actors to mobilise the community to move on a journey of change to address these. As they move on this journey, we recognise that the people have the power within them to change the child protection issues in their community. WHY CHILD PROTECTION? Child Protection has within it a specific focus on empowering children with age-appropriate and value-based life skills or what we would call development assets that enable them discover their potentials as young people and actively get involved in the community network that we want to see. A sustainable and meaningful community network is that which will give the children a platform to participate meaningfully. With our child protection focus, we will emphasise issues of access, mechanisms of delivery of services in the community (to check if the most vulnerable children --who will be defined by the community, are reached ) as well as capacity building of local leaders. My community, My child.