National Child Labour Policies and Child Development in Masindi District, Western Uganda
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The study focused of establishing the relationship between child labour policies and child development in Masindi District. It was guided by the following objectives: To establish the relationship between the National Child Labour Policy on Child Development in Masindi District; To find out the relationship between the Children’s Statute of 1996 and Child Development in Masindi District; and, to assess the relationship between the Children's Act 2003 on Child Development in Masindi District. The study adopted a cross-sectional research design was adopted to assess the relationship between the variables. The study population comprised of the parents, district officials and NGO staff. It reached a total of 357 (out of 363) respondents and 14 (out of 15) key informants making a response rate of 95.8%. It was found out that Child labour policies were being implemented in Masindi District. Further, the Family and Children’s Court (FCC) existence at community in Masindi was found to be a mechanism that would curb child (labour) abuse at the grass root level if well functional and active in handling related cases. It was also revealed that the secretary receives is obliged to summon perpetuators of child labour for discussion and reconciliation of the cases in the best interest of the child. More still, it was realized that Children’s Act was streamlined with the Social Development Sector Strategic Investment Plan with prospects of promoting equal opportunities. The study recommended the creation of greater awareness about the dangers of child labour at all levels of society to inform the public about its dangers. Also, nurturing social alliance was found to be a unification factor of all stakeholders fighting against child labour as coupled with extending services of the Uganda Child Helpline as an integral part of the national child protection system. Also, conducting researcher on matters pressing children would highly improve children development efforts at all levels. The study further recommended that building institutional capacity at all levels of government would support child development. It was thus established that adoption of childoriented systems in recognition of children’s wellbeing should prioritized. Conclusively, national child labour policies provide a platform that addresses vulnerability index of children, neutralizes inequality and prohibits exclusion and discrimination to enable the child enjoy their childhood, grow properly, attain education, get empowered and be protected against any form of abuse. Proper implementation of the policies would necessitate and support community development in Masindi District and other parts of the country.