Since 1986 Uganda has made progress from the shackles of harsh
dictatorial rule that marred the country for the previous decades
and brought Uganda to economic ruin, however those decades of
conflict have left Uganda as one of the world's poorest country
hampering its ability to catch up on the social progress and
infrastructure that is required to provide a reasonable standard
of living for all its people.
The situation in the
north of the country is particularly dire where over 1.8 million
people have been displaced and 60,000 children abducted, many then forced to become
child soldiers and are psychologically traumatised by the Lord's Resistance Army
rampant across the north destroying families and communities. Whilst
the situation is improving with the LRA in abeyance, the plight of child night
commuters still prevails.
In the more secure south of the country, children
in Uganda still face many difficulties. Just under 50% of the
population is aged 14yrs or younger and life expectancy is around 54
Uganda continues to be one of the poorest
countries in the world with sub standard health care, high rates of
malnutrition and diseases such as malaria rampant, assisted by less
than half of those living in Uganda having access to safe drinking
water. Around a third of the population live in poverty.
There are an estimated 1.2 million children
orphaned through AIDS/HIV, that's nearly one in fourteen of the
country's child population. Literacy rates are relatively high for
males at 77% however this falls to just 57% for females. 18% of
children never enrol at school and a further 66%, who have enrolled,
drop out during their primary and secondary school years. Attendance
at school is also affected by the high rates of malaria with 40% of
all students being affected at any given time.
Health issues are a major concern for children in
Uganda; 26,000 children under the age of five die every year die
from diarrhoeal diseases and about a quarter of all children in
Uganda do not have adequate food supplies for all or part of the
As with other
countries across Africa, and indeed the world, Uganda has a rising
number of street children and its estimated that around 5000
children beg, scavenge, wash cars, steal or sell their bodies for
daily survival. Unlike their counterparts in neighbouring Kenya,
these children do not tend to sniff glue, rather bhang which is brought in from Somalia, via Moroto.
It is this drug taking that the authorities account for the increase
in violence in cities like Kampala.
This video documentary provides further
glimpses into daily life for children in Uganda.