Kasese district local government and RWECO have signed an MoU to retool teachers in prevention of violence against children. RWECO facilitated the Office of the District Education department to carry out the training in 8 Primary schools in the first phase in Kitswamba SDA, Nkaiga, Kyanya, Karusandara SDA, Ibuga, Kenyange Muslim, Kiburara and St. Johns Bukangara. Teachers trained were 113 (65m, 48f) on prevention of VAC and alternative punishments, handling of deviant pupils who are usually victims of VAC. Two staff of the education were assigned to work with RWECO: Ms. Harriet Kahangwa focal person for FAWE and Mr. Richard the regional FAWE officer. The training was conducted at every school and all teachers were targeted as suggested by the D.E.O that other than holding a central training, the teachers needed the skills in prevention of VAC since it was already provided for in the education department workplan but had no funds.
The teachers who were trained appreciated the knowledge and skills gained,they called for more refresher trainings in the field of VAC prevention since as parents they were faced with a double challenges " we as teachers face a double challenge, we spend the whole day with children even when we reach home, we spend more time with children, all our lives is talking and shouting to children"
|Teachers posing for a photo after the training, with the FAWE regional focal person|
On other hand, the teachers refresher training was also tailored to the professional code of conduct of teachers, thus as part of professional development the training was timely.
|Ms. Harriet second from right,posing with teachers after the training|
From the refresher training of teachers, it was realised that violence against children was common and happens most often in communities including school settings:
Causes of violence against children include: Bad cultural beliefs and practices such as child marriage, child labor, denial of education to girl children among others continue to undermine the implementation and enforcement of child protection laws in Uganda.
Societal acceptance of violence against children as a way of correcting them and enforcing discipline is a common perception especially among parents and guardians.
Immoral behaviors and practices such as violence in the families and communities sometimes make children become violent such as bullying and gang fighting.
Increasing levels of drug and addictive alcohol drinking resulting to domestic violence which puts children as the most vulnerable group.
Poverty; where some girls are forced into prostitution and child labor so as to earn a living that puts them at a risk of HIV/AIDS and early pregnancies it also exposes learners to high levels of vulnerabilities.
Corruption and belief in bribery where parents of children who are offended do not report or with draw cases when they know that the offender is capable of giving them a bribe or dowry, even in courts of law corruption also leads to unfair judgment.
Over dependency on single bread winner and lack of economic empowerment of women which fuels domestic violence this has a lot of effects on children.
Ignorance about children’s rights, war and displacement, divorce / broken families Poor upbringing of the children by the parents causes violence in schools. Like poor dressing code of parents affects children and sharing of small rooms with children.
Absenteeism or irregularities of both teachers and pupils, Negative attitude of both , parents, teachers and pupils towards education in certain areas, Late coming for both pupils and teachers, Illiteracy, peer influence , Transfer of anger , Negligence , Orphanage status , long illness and Parenting gaps
Exposure of children to sexual activities like pornography and kind of houses we stay in, when a teacher does not take remedial teaching, Poor attendance leads to school lack of control and cheating of the content, inadequate preparation like schemes and lesson plans causes violence.
The teachers appreciated the efforts RWECO has put to reduce on violence against children and adolescents in schools and surrounding communities, the teachers agreed to the following alternative punishments. Form school family initiative where pupils from P1-P7 are divided among the teachers and set a day in a week for sitting and handle their psycho-social issues , drop the cane and use other alternative means of punishments like pupil can be sent out to the head teachers office for 5 minutes, apology verbal , letter writing to the teacher offended , having cards in class and then given to talkative, a teacher can withdraw privileges of these children like denial pupils to play in the school football team for a week , detention for instance one missing exams it can be given to him or her during games time when others are playing. behavior contract between a teacher and pupils, community service like if there is an elderly person around the school the pupil can clean the compound, demerit box be put in place, students court like deciding for the talkative to sit on the front chair near the teachers are among the alternative punishment.
The trained teachers were thus called upon to be agents of change and children's rights activists
Project Officer CRVP