27 November 2009

Uganda: HIV Main Cause of Child Labour in Uganda - Report

Photo: Aubrey Graham/IRIN
Stolen childhood: Taking care of the household.

Kampala — HIV/ AIDS pandemic are one of the leading causes of orphan- hood and child labour in Uganda affecting 15percent of children out of estimated 2 million, reports Inea News Agency Ltd.

This was stated in a report by the Kampala District Labour Officer Mr. Adrine Namara during a half day workshop on National Child Labour Policy organized by Platform for labour Action (PLA) at Tal Cottages Hotel in Rubaga with aim to educate Rubaga Division Councillors on concept of child labour responsiveness.

Namara's report stated that about 15 percent of children in Uganda, 950,000 boys and girl orphans are compelled to participate in paid work, or the girls get married early and some had to become heads of households.

He said studies show that over 300,000 HIV/ AIDS orphans are involved in Child labour.

Another escalation of child labour case Namara said is inadequate and poor access and barrier to basic education despite the government's provision of basic free Universal education in both Primary and Secondary.

"There as significant gaps. These are mainly with regards to school infrastructure availability of school places and quality of teaching," Namara said.

He said class sizes in many schools are large up to 100 children in one classroom and teachers are often absent or over worked.

Similarly, the Assistant Commissioner for Labour Mr. Godfrey Kiberu said besides HIV/ AIDS, other common causes of child labour in Uganda are poverty at homes, wars, domestic violence, big families and lack of knowledge about child labour.

He said other common victims of child labour in Uganda today are children selling drugs and items that are not allowed by the law such as smuggled goods and children affected by wars as child soldiers popularly known as Kadogos.

He appealed to Uganda local government to make by-laws at the district level to prevent and stop child labour and also monitor and report the situation of child labour at the district level.

While the Platform for Labour Action Executive Director Ms Lilian Keen Mugerwa in her presentation said Makindye Division alone in Kampala has 12,000 children working illegally, missing schools and are involved in domestic work indicating a real element of Child labour.

Closing the workshop, Rubaga Division LCIII Chairman Pastor Peter Sematimba said the issue of Child labour in Kampala is not the issue that will stop soon.

"Despite this intervention, the problem of child labour is still prevalent in Kampala and it is not sustainable to address only one form of child labour in any given community. Official statistics indicate that 2.7 million children are in child labour and these 54 percent are working as domestic workers," Sematimba said in a speech read to him by his Secretary for Production and Marketing Mr. Kisaabagire Andrew.

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