Children on the Edge works with slum communities in the suburbs of Jinja, Uganda, where children are at risk of abuse, trafficking, neglect and in extreme cases, child sacrifice. Our work has been so transformative that we are expanding into new communities in Uganda to tackle child rights abuses and ensure more children are better protected and able to thrive.
Here’s an update from one new community, Mafubira where a new Child Protection Team has been set up.
For 10 years, Child Protection Teams, trained and supported by Children on the Edge, have been working across five slum communities in Jinja, Uganda. Children in these areas faced poverty, poor sanitation, domestic abuse, child abuse and high crime rates. But the Child Protection Teams work to change this, and have transformed their communities, acting as the eyes and ears of the children and tackling child rights abuses to create a safer environment where their children can realise their rights and thrive.
This summer, a new Child Protection Team has been trained and is working in Mafubira, a slum community just north of Jinja.
Watch our video with Babra from Children on the Edge Africa who updated us on their progress so far.
The Children on the Edge Africa team were approached about a number of child protection issues in Mafubira and wanted to use the Child Protection Team model to work with this community and make it safer for children living there. Children in Mafubira are lacking enough food, which can encourage increased rates of child labour as they are forced to work to support their families. They also face neglect by their parents, sexual assault, and other forms of child abuse are rampant. It was clear that children in Mafubira needed protection.
Using our original Child Protection Team model, a group of 10 volunteers were elected and trained over the summer. The newly formed Child Protection Team had initial training workshops and now has access to a community emergency fund. They have learned about referring cases of child protection, how to keep records, and have been trained on the roles of the Child Protection Team in the community. They have also received all the equipment they need to go out into the community including wellington boots, facemasks and high vis jackets.
One of the first workshops they had, was to tackle the sexual assault of children in Mafubira which the team were able to put to incredible use just two weeks later when they identified a case of sexual assault against 16 year old girl.
She was attacked while she was selling sweet bananas to make money for her family. As she walked past the perpetrators doorway, she was pulled inside and sexually assaulted.
When the team found out, they went to the local council leader, but they were ignored. They then went to the police in Mafubira who arrested the perpetrator, but sadly those officers were bribed by the man’s relatives and were ready to let him go. Not giving up, the team went straight to Jinja police station, who took charge of the case. They worked tirelessly with the police to have him charged and sentenced.
Following this incident, and a second case of sexual assault in another community (Masese III), all six Child Protection Teams, including the new team in Mafubira requested training on how best to support children who had experience traumatic incidents like this.
The six Child Protection Teams attended workshops on child counselling. In each workshop the facilitator from the local council talked through the basic components and techniques of child counseling and spent some time discussing all the different cases that the teams have been dealing with recently. They also looked at when and how to refer cases to the local authorities.
Babra, Social Worker at Children on the Edge Africa says: “It is clear that a community can protect its own children, if it is empowered, and it is for that reason that we feel we need to expand the Child Protection Team Model in other communities.”
Time after time Child Protection Teams make an incredible difference, advocating for the children in their communities and keeping them safe. We are hoping to expand this work into three new communities in Uganda where children are in need of better protection - Busia, Karamoja and Namataala.
Find out more about Child Protection Teams