The first-ever conference on child poverty in Uganda - ‘What Works for Africa’s Poorest Children’ – has kicked off in Kampala.
“It is an incredible honour to have many of the world’s most prominent thinkers on child poverty in Africa here in Uganda for this conference”, said the Executive Director of the Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC), Dr Sarah Ssewanyana.
“Hearing their collective insights and recommendations is an important step to help policymakers ensure the poorest children in Uganda and across Africa break out of poverty.”
In Uganda, fifty-five per cent of children under 5 years of age – 3.7 million - are living in multi-dimensional poverty, deprived of many of the basic services and fundamental rights (health care, nutrition, education, water, sanitation, shelter and information) they require to develop to their full potential.
Furthermore, 38 per cent of all 6-17-year-olds across Uganda are living in multi-dimensional poverty.
“The effects of multiple deprivations on children are often significant and expose children to the much greater risk of harm, abuse and exploitation,” said Dr Doreen Mulenga, UNICEF’s Representative to Uganda.
“The examples of practical solutions that will be presented over the coming days have transformed the lives of some of the most deprived and vulnerable children across Africa. We must find ways to urgently implement such solutions here in Uganda.”
The three-day conference includes presentations from over 50 experts from around the world on what actions and programmes have most improved the lives of Africa’s poorest children.
The conference is drawing on lessons and experiences from programmes and social policies across Africa that have worked, and demonstrate real potential to be scaled up and sustained.
“We hope the presentations at this conference will inform policies and programmes that more deliberately and robustly improve the lives of the poorest children here in Uganda and across Africa,” said Dr David Lawson, Senior Lecturer at the Global Development Institute in the School of Environment, Education and Development at the University of Manchester.
A collection of papers presented at the conference will form the foundation of a book, ‘What Works for Africa’s Poorest Children? Social Policies and Programmes for Children Living in Extreme Deprivation’.
The conference was organized by the Economic Policy Research Center, the University of Manchester and UNICEF.