CHURCH SALUTES NAKIWALA’S CHILDREN ACTIVISM APPROACH
The Church of Uganda leadership has reached out to Youth and Children Affairs Minister Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi commending her for relentlessly advocating children rights and welfare. The CoU is enthused that she is the first Minister to streamline matters relating to children vulnerabilities and make them part of the national discussion. Unlike her predecessors, Nakiwala has been very deliberate about issues causing children vulnerability. And since taking charge in 2016 when she replaced Ronald Kibule, Nakiwala has consistently denounced injustice against children. She has also equally been very outspoken against anything that disadvantages children or mothers as we saw her take lead in insisting that Kadongo Kamu singer Mathias Walukagga owns up and takes care of the child he sired with his former maid. Like many men do, Walukagga tried denying responsibility and paternity of the child but when Nakiwala offered money for the DNA test, the musician ate a humble pie and coiled. And then more recently when she saw injustice relating to Fresh Kid being deprived of opportunity to be in school, Nakiwala courageously spoke out and didn’t mind being misunderstood. In the end she got vindicated when the likes of Tamale Mirundi joined her in saying anybody wishing a child well couldn’t afford condemning her for insisting to have the little boy in school. Eventually the two met and made up with Nakiwala even extending financial support. But more remarkably, her insistence on the right thing which is being at school inadvertently brought Fresh Kid to national limelight and increased his popularity as a future musician.
It’s those efforts that the CoU recognized on Wednesday when a delegation drove to her Gender Ministry offices. It was led by Rev Richard Rukundo who is the national Coordinator of the Children’s Ministry in the CoU province.
Rukundo said they had been sent to speak at a joint news conference with Nakiwala as an opportunity to convey public appreciation for her relentless advocacy regarding children issues because they greatly matter. “We urge other government officials to prioritize children issues and become advocates because once we don’t ensure safety and proper upbringing of our children, an entire generation is lost,” he said as he commended Nakiwala. He said in Western societies there has been remarkable decline in faith and family values largely because there was a time parents stopped sending their children to church and Sunday schools. He said this failure to prioritize children ministry created societal decline and erosion of values whose consequences western communities will contend with for long. He said because of this, the CoU Provincial Assembly last designated 2019 as the year of children. Subsequently, the Archbishop Stanley Ntagali wrote a letter directing Mothers Union, Fathers Union, Young Marrieds Fellowship, Home Cells, and Christian Women’s Fellowship, Prayer/Intercession Groups and other organs of the Church to deepen awareness about children welfare, protection and safety. Rukundo said its Ntagali’s wish to deepen collaboration between the CoU and Nakiwala as the line minister who has already been very enthusiastic about children. Nakiwala said Gender Ministry was reciprocating by assigning CoU to lead preparations for 16th June celebrations to mark the Day of the African Child (DAC). An event of the AU, DAC was designated in memory of hundreds of black children/students butchered by the Apartheid regime in SA on 16th June 1976 as they marched to condemn inferior education that was being offered in Black communities. Nakiwala said the CoU was a perfect partner because they have the numbers and means for mass mobilization. Gratefully close to 40% of their congregation comprises of children. She shared copies of children protection laws and regulations and urged the CoU leadership to undertake awareness creation. The two Principals revealed some children-related statistics showing that 11.3% of Ugandan children need intervention and assistance because they are orphans which makes them vulnerable. In schools, homes and community where they live, only 6% of the children are safe. Majority families are categorized as too poor and unstable for proper growth of children. Many children don’t grow up with both parents because of HIV/Aids, domestic violence, alcoholism and abuse. Nakiwala hoped the CoU will use its countrywide network to amplify the pro-children advocacy she has been spearheading since becoming Minister mid-2016. Consequently working with her Minister, the CoU is going to intensify outreach programs in schools and chaplaincies to intensify advocacy for especially the voiceless children. (For comments, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org).