Amudat Gets Child Friendly Services

1255 Views Amudat, Uganda

In short
A child friendly service is a gazetted play space where children go to daily to acquire knowledge and skills on how they can protect themselves against different forms of Violence including FGM and child marriage.

Transcultural Psychosocial Organization-TPO Uganda, a nongovernmental organisation has launched Child Friendly services- CFS geared towards elimination of harmful and violent practices against children especially girls in Amudat district.  

 
The Child friendly services target female genital mutilation- FGM and child marriages, which are common in the district. A child friendly service is a gazetted play space where children go to daily to acquire knowledge and skills on how they can protect themselves against different forms of Violence including FGM and child marriage.

 
Activities conducted in the CFS's are structured, age and gender appropriate, and designed to foster learning of all children who regularly participate in the activities.  Transcultural Psychosocial Organization-TPO Uganda established 12 child friendly spaces in the district eight years ago with funding from UNICEF, but three of them were upgraded recently.  
 

 
The upgraded CFSs are found in Karita, Amudat and Loroo sub counties. George Mubiru, the TPO project officer in Amudat says CFSs help in identification of child related cases by sharing with children. He notes that the CFS initiative has helped the district in fighting FGM that goes along with child marriages.



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Francis Kiyonga, the Amudat LC V Chairperson, observes that the CFS are a basis for school enrollment in the district. Kiyonga notes that Kanareyon and the neighboring villages where CFSs are located have 100% illiteracy rates.



 
He says the CFSs will help improve the parent's attitude towards education after appreciating the values shared in the CFSs. Raphael Lokut, the Child and Family Protection Unit Officer in Amudat, says he receives up to five cases of children aged from 10-14 years running away from home over issues of child marriages.
 
 
"We receive at least five girls seeking refuge from police when they sense their parents start marriage discussions for them. There's a lot of defilement around here and once girls are cut, they are married off," Lokut told a gathering at Kanareyon in Amudat Sub County on Tuesday. 
 

Rebecca Kwagala, the UNICEF Chief Officer in Moroto urged District authorities to plan for the facilities, saying they can be used to establish formal schools in the areas.
 

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Since they were established, the CFSs have reached roughly 9,670 (5891F, 3779M) children. The multi million Shillings UN joint programme is funded by DFID and USAID.