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Are Africa’s social policies serving her children?

As we publish the sixth of our eight-piece series on violence against children, we wish to give our readers a bonus.

The series rotate around a survey report on violence against children in Uganda, released in August by the ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, in partnership with AfriChild, USAID, ChildFund, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Unicef, Uganda Bureau of Statistics, TPO Uganda and US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

The bonus: on September 10 to 12, Uganda hosted the first International Conference on Child Poverty in Africa. It was sponsored by Makerere University’s Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC), in partnership with Uganda government, Unicef Uganda and University of Manchester (UoM, UK).

Held at Protea hotel Kampala, the conference’s chief hosts were Sarah Ssewanyana, the executive director of EPRC, and Dr Doreen Mulenga, the Unicef representative in Uganda.

With theme, ‘What Works for Africa’s Poorest Children? Social Policies and Programmes for Children Living in Extreme Deprivation’, the conference received 50 papers that were grouped into four themes of policy intervention and programme design: Child poverty and deprivation, Child-sensitive social protection, Public finance for children, and Child rights governance.

The conference organizing committee targeted policymakers, development practitioners, local and international civil society organizarions, academia, private sector and general public as participants. This was so because the committee sought to get insights into existing social policy and programmes interventions, plus practical actions to be able to contribute to the global efforts to end child poverty.

Hence the conference was run with two key objectives:

To identify the social policies and programmes (such as social assistance and cash grants) that are most effective in supporting Africa’s poorest and most vulnerable children, and elaborate on the key features underpinning their documented success.

To raise awareness of all key stakeholders about the need to prioritize and join efforts behind the actions required to respond to the social needs and status of deprivation of Africa’s poorest children as articulated in the Sustainable Development Goals agenda.

Organizers announced that a carefully selected collection of these papers will form the foundation of a book next year to be titled, What Works for Africa’s Poorest Children? Social Policies and Programmes for Children Living in Extreme Deprivation. However, in the meantime, all the papers will soon be accessible at the Uganda Children’s Portal, through link www.eprcug.org/children/.

jmusinguzi@observer.ug

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