The first ever conference on child poverty Kicks off in Kampala

By Irankunda Godfrey

The first ever conference on child poverty in Uganda –
‘What Works for Africa’s Poorest
Children- began today.

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.

“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 heir collective insights and recommendations is an
important step to help policy makers ensure the poorest
children in Uganda and across Africa break out of

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 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 conference isdrawing on lessons and experiences from programmes andsocial policies across Africa that have worked, anddemonstrate 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.

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