The current project under this programme area is funded by Independent Development Fund. The project is aimed at Empowering Citizens for Proactive Action on Child Rights Protection in Rakai and Lyantonde Districts (Sub counties of Lwanda, Rakai Town council, Kagamba, Ddwaniro, Lwamaggwa, in Rakai and Mpumudde, Kinuuka, Kaliiro, Lyantonde Town Council and Kasagama in Lyantonde). This project addresses the key problem of child and human rights abuse which is as a result of illiteracy by many members of the community who are not aware of the policy and legal frameworks as well as rights of children, women and persons with disabilities. People purportedly helping orphans and vulnerable children have deliberately abused them. There are many cases of child abuse in Rakai and Lyantonde districts which include among others; child starvation, child abandonment / neglect, body harm, and domestic violence. Other children have suffered from indirect abuse through over drinking, domestic conflicts, and sometimes negligence. There is inadequate facilitation of law enforcing agencies, lack of public awareness on children's laws and rights (Children statute 2004), culture that promotes early marriages, children fear to open up and provide information to relevant authorities, lack of custody place for children offenders and its because of this that some children have ended up being locked up in cells of adults. In addition, orphans and widows property is grabbed leaving them with almost nothing to take care of them. The limited knowledge on child related legal laws especially those related to sexual abuse and early marriages have rendered some of the structures for delivering juvenile justice ineffective

In Lyantonde district, the percentage of vulnerable children which is the second highest after the northern region (58.5%) stands at 48.8% (Uganda National Health Survey, 2006). Lyantonde in particular has 9,498 OVCs of which 5,089 are females identified as living in exceptionally difficult circumstances. (Lyantonde District OVCs Integrated Strategic Plan 2007-2012). Lyantonde town being a major stop over for long distance trucks is a major center for commercial sex which contributes to irresponsible pregnancies, street children, and children infected with HIV. The majority of child abuses exist due to weak structures to protect children against abuse. The situation of orphans is further complicated by widespread discrimination within families and communities where they live. They are viewed as second rate children in whatever family they live. Many times they miss out on opportunities for personal growth and development like education, even where opportunity and support is to be accorded, theirs is second rate, comes last or is given while being reminded of how they are being helped. Orphans are also subjected to a lot of domestic chores, are less fed, and their health is not properly catered for. They are prone to being traded off as house girls and house boys or to enter the labour market on their own early in life. Service providers are working in isolation and the efforts to coordinate the various interventions become difficult with conflicts of interests and differing priorities by different people concerned. While the district in principle remains firmly committed to the promotion of legal support and the rights of children, in practice major challenges still remain in terms of resource allocation particularly to the legal support and child protection sector. For example, the District probation Office is least resourced. The overall aim of this project is therefore to empower communities for proactive action on the legal institutional frameworks for child rights protection in Rakai and Lyantonde Districts.

OUR APPROACH: Child Aid Uganda implements its activities using a rights based approach to sustainable development. Rights-based development thus implies that; the achievement of human rights goals and is based on the normative national and international human rights standards. Policy formulation based on RBD would explicitly acknowledge these national and international standards/obligations and plan in compliance with them. A right based approach means that programmes for development are not optional charity but are legally binding as they are based on the needs of claim-holders to be met by duty-bearers. A right-based approach therefore strengthens policy and programmes by giving it a legal basis, validity and therefore effectiveness.

Child Aid Uganda will continue to mobilize and empower communities for proactive and responsive actions to protect children from all forms of abuse, violence, diseases, exploitation and gender based violence (GBV). Meaningful Child participation and involvement in issues that affect their own lives shall be top on the agenda. Children will be given a chance to share their views regarding their rights and responsibilities and other crucial issues regarding their wellbeing.