The Church of Uganda and the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development have agreed to strengthen their collaboration in programmes that address children’s vulnerability across the country.
This comes at a time when the Church’s Provincial Assembly declared 2019 as a year for children, with focus on protecting children’s rights while nurturing them to grow in a desirable manner and be responsible adults in the future.
While meeting a delegation from the Church at the ministry headquarters on Wednesday, the Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs, Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi, announced that the Church of Uganda would lead this year’s Day of the African Child celebrations.
The Day is commemorated on 16th June to raise awareness on issues affecting children in general and particularly vulnerable children.
It’s history is rooted in the June 16, 1976 students match from Soweto, South Africa. They were shot by security forces while marching as a way to demonstrate their disapproval of the Black Education Act, which segregated students based on their race.
Nakiwala noted that the Government was happy anti work with the Church of Uganda since its congregation is made up of one-third of children.
“It’s therefore pleasant to partner with an institution that first of all has the means of mass mobilization but also the numbers to cause change,” Nakiwala said.
She also handed church representatives copies of the current regime of laws and regulations on children.
The Children’s Ministry Coordinator at the Church of Uganda, Rev Richard Rukundo, said their strategy was to involve all organs of the church like Mothers Union, Father’s Union, Young Marrieds Fellowship, Home Cells, Christian Women’s Fellowships, Prayer and Intercession groups in establishing and leading Children’s Ministry in the Church and Family.
“We have a Roadmap whose purpose is to position the child at the center of all Ministry activities through multiple approaches. We are engaging every child in the Family, Schools, Church, Community and country at large,” Rukundo noted.
He revealed that their choice of focus was informed by Bible teachings which proclaim children as gifts from the Lord and fruit of the womb.
“In Western countries, they have realized that the problems they have of liberalism and loss of faith are mainly because there was a time when they stopped sending their children to Church and Sunday school. Therefore, Children’s Ministry is very important for the stable growth of the Church and development of a strong generation” he added.
Statistics indicate that 11.3% of children in Uganda are orphans and half of all children are vulnerable. Only 6% are safe in their homes, schools and community. Many families are also categorized as unstable and poor. Some children are separated from one or both parents due to domestic violence, abuse, alcoholism, HIV/AIDS and other conflicts.
He revealed that the Archbishop, The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali, in December 2018, wrote to all Bishops, Clergy, Lay Readers, Christians and People of Uganda communicating about the year of the Child and the deliberate drive to advocate for the welfare of children.