UNICEF in Uganda Keeping Children Alive, Safe and Learning

UNICEF in Uganda
Keeping Children
Alive, Safe and Learning
An Introduction
Uganda is making strides of progress after
years of instability: more than a million
people rose above the poverty line in the last
five years, and the percentage of school-age
children enrolling in primary school nationally
has skyrocketed to over 96 per cent.
Uganda’s achievements toward reaching
the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
and other development targets inspire hope.
But the current rate of progress needs to be
accelerated greatly to reach the MDG targets
by the year 2015.
More than half of Ugandans – over 15.5
million – are under the age of 15 years,
underscoring just how important and
urgent it is to improve the lives of children
and youth, especially the most vulnerable
and marginalized. With such a huge
young population, the impact of Uganda’s
achievements for children influences the
progress of the nation.
As the country strides forward economically
creating new opportunities for some,
the poorest children are left far behind.
Compared to Uganda’s children living in the
wealthiest quintile (20 per cent), children in
the poorest quintile are more than two-anda-half times less likely to be birthed by a
skilled attendant. They are less likely to have
official birth registration or be immunized,
and are more likely to suffer malnutrition.
They are nearly two-and-a-half times more
likely than their richest peers to be married
before the age of 18, and eight times less
likely to be using improved basic sanitation
throughout life. These disparities and others
are illustrated in a recent global UNICEF
study, Progress for Children:
More than half of
Achieving the MDGs with Equity
Ugandans – over
– a snapshot of this study
15.5 million – are
focusing on Uganda follows on
under the age of 15.
the next page.
Like a marathon runner pushing toward the
finish line, a sustained and focused effort is
needed in Uganda to go the last mile toward
reaching the MDGs and other important
development targets. This will set the tone
for the future beyond 2015, affecting the
mortality, safety, and education of millions of
Ugandan children.
All photos ©UNICEF Uganda
With the futures of millions of children kept
close at heart, UNICEF Uganda is working
with the Government and partners to
accelerate progress to Keep Children Alive,
Safe, and Learning. Three multi-sectoral
programme components (Keep Children
and Mothers Alive, Keep Children Safe,
and Keep Children Learning) form the core
of the 2010-2014 Government of Uganda/
UNICEF Uganda Country Programme Action
Plan. As a whole, the programme benefits
from intersecting activity and crosscutting
strategies. For example, Alive intersects with
Learning where hygiene improvements affect
school enrollment; Learning intersects with
Safe where weaving child-friendly principles
into national education standards reduces
child abuse in schools.
The goal of Keep Children Alive, Safe, and
Learning is to have a dramatic, positive
impact on the lives of Uganda’s children
by the 2015 MDG target year, and beyond.
Geographically, we are placing additional
focus in areas of high disparities, such as
districts in the northern, northeastern, and
western-to-central areas. As of 2011,
UNICEF is bolstering development efforts
in over 30 additional districts around the
country with the highest absolute mortality
rates, in an effort to join our partners in
having deeper impact in those underserved
It is within Uganda’s reach to save lives and
improve the futures of millions of children a
year. We must not wait until tomorrow: the
time for us to accelerate progress is now.
Achieving the MDGs with Equity:
Focus on Uganda
A recent UNICEF study, Progress for
Children: Achieving the MDGs with Equity,
reveals deep economic disparities in terms
of progress toward meeting the MDGs
around the world. Strengthening the focus
on achieving greater equity for children is
both imperative and appropriate, and in
some areas it makes more financial sense
in the long run. Most significantly, the study
found that an equity-focused approach
will accelerate progress towards the health
MDGs for children faster than the current
path (in particular to reduce child mortality
and improve maternal health), and will
be considerably more cost-effective and
The disparities across wealth quintiles in
Uganda suggest that even as the nation
moves forward, the most disadvantaged and
marginalized children are being left behind,
especially in terms of health and child
protection. Compared to their peers in the
wealthiest 20 per cent (or quintile), children in
Uganda’s poorest quintile are:
• More than two-and-a-half times
less likely to be birthed by a skilled
• More likely to suffer malnutrition;
• Less likely to receive immunization;
• Eight times less likely to be using
improved basic sanitation throughout
• Less likely to have official birth
registration; and
• Nearly two-and-a-half times more
likely to be married before the age of
Windows of Opportunity
There are windows of opportunity that the
Government, UNICEF and partners can use
to reduce these disparities. For example, the
antenatal care intervention: A relatively high
percentage of women in the poorest quintile
in Uganda receive antenatal care at least
once during pregnancy (93% in Uganda,
versus only 55% of women in the poorest
quintile in sub-Saharan Africa). However,
many of these women do not follow through
with the recommended four visits. UNICEF is
working to ensure that the large percentage
those who have one antenatal care visit have
three more, an achievement that can have a
profound influence on half of the disparities
listed above (birth by a skilled attendant,
malnutrition, and immunization).
Another example is improving primary
learning and gender equality: Uganda has
achieved a high primary school enrolment
rate as well as gender parity (the same
amount of girls and boys attend). However,
just over half complete primary school. A
clear prerogative must be to ensure more
girls and boys start early, stay in school,
learn, and finish. To make this happen,
UNICEF is supporting Early Childhood
Development and helping the Government
improve the quality and safety of primary
schools. In addition, support to the widely
successful Girls Education Movement is
helping more girls achieve their right to attain
the highest education of which they are
capable – an achievement that can ultimately
yield progress across all MDG targets.
Numbers In Uganda, with respect to:
Maternal health – delivery: 28% of births are
attended by a skilled attendant at delivery for
the poorest quintile, versus 76% of births for
the richest quintile;
Maternal health – antenatal care: 93% of
women in the poorest quintile received
antenatal care at least once, compared to
96% in the richest, and 55% of women in
the poorest quintile of sub-Saharan African
Malnutrition: 21% of children under 5 are
underweight in the poorest quintile, versus 8%
of under five children in the richest;
Immunization: 49% of infants in the poorest
quintile received measles immunization, versus
65% in the richest quintile;
Child Marriage: 62% of women in the poorest
quintile are married before the age of 18,
versus 26% of women in the richest quintile;
Birth registration: 17% of the children under 5
in poorest quintile are registered, versus 26%
of the richest quintile;
Basic sanitation: 9% of the population in the
poorest quintile is using improved sanitation
facilities, versus 71% of the population in the
richest quintile;
Gender parity index: .99 for primary schools;
and .94 for secondary schools.
Source: UNICEF: Progress for Children: Achieving the
MDGs with Equity (2010).
Keep Children and Mothers Alive
of worship). VHTs listen to and
Today, over 520 children under
It is within
engage children and mothers, and
reach to reduce
the age of five will die in Uganda.
provide an important first referral
Tomorrow, the same number of
underto a health centre, if needed.
children will die, and the next day,
age-five children by
and the next. More than half of
up to 30 per cent by
Through Integrated Community
Ugandan children dying each day
December 2014.
Case Management (iCCM), we
are under the age of one. With
are expanding and improving
nearly 190,000 children lost annually, Uganda
and treatment in the case
is one of the 20 countries in the world with
management of the top three killers of
the highest number of deaths of children
children under five – malaria, pneumonia
under five years old. And while it’s difficult to
and diarrhoea – within the communities
comprehend a more vulnerable person than
themselves. We are helping increase
a child at the age of two or three years old,
the number of VHTs and ensuring that at
the most vulnerable of this vulnerable group
least two per community will be trained to
are newborns. At least 45,000 newborn
diagnose and provide treatment for the top
deaths occur each year in Uganda, and over
three killers, as well as identify and refer
half of these deaths happen during the first
severe illness in newborns, children and
week of life, mainly in the first 24 hours.
mothers including severe acute malnutrition.
On closer look, these dismal statistics
With tens of thousands of Uganda’s
reveal a startling and hopeful truth: through
newborns dying each year, mainly in the first
some basic interventions, we can save the
24 hours of life, as well as a high maternal
lives of thousands of Ugandan children a
mortality rate, it’s clear that follow-up
year. Through a comprehensive approach
antenatal care will make a critical difference
of disease prevention, promotion of good
in keeping mothers and children alive. We’ll
health, and village-level care with timely
save lives by ensuring more mothers make
follow-up, it is within reach to achieve an upthe recommended four antenatal care visits,
to 30 per cent reduction in the mortality rate
and ensuring more births are attended by a
of under-five children by December 2014.
skilled health worker.
We can save lives by directly connecting
Uganda continues to struggle with the
children and mothers to health, nutrition,
ravages of HIV/AIDS, with 18 per cent of
and hygiene knowledge and services, and
all new HIV infections occurring through
by inspiring communities to practice healthy
mother-to-child transmission. Currently the
behaviours. Strengthening the role of Village
prevention of mother-to-child
Health Teams (VHTs) and other
transmission of HIV (PMTCT)
community-based workers will
intervention exists in half of
Combating the Top 3 Killers
go far in helping directly reach
Uganda’s clinics. By expanding
children and mothers in their
Mothers Alive is to work at the
the availability of PMTCT to
homes and other spaces of
household level to combat the
daily life (like primary schools, three top killers of children under more clinics, and by encouraging
pregnant women to be tested
five: malaria, diarrhoea and
youth centres and places
pneumonia. Lives can be saved for HIV and to access PMTCT if
through the promotion of healthy
they’re HIV-positive, we can keep
behaviours: Hand-washing
thousands more children alive a
reduces the chance of getting
diarrhoea; breastfeeding helps
protect a baby from diarrhoea
and ARIs; and a child that sleeps
under an insecticide-treated
mosquito net is less likely to get
malaria. Timely diagnosis and
treatment (at the home or basic
clinic) will ensure a sick child
We must motivate communities
to take an active role in child
survival. Proliferating consistent,
proactive messages throughout
communities – about healthy
family practices, HIV, nutrition,
clean and safe homes, and
Keep Children Safe
other important issues – will help transform
health behaviours and mobilize community
members to actively participate in keeping
children alive and healthy.
Across all programme areas, we will use
technology like mobile phones to cut down
delays in the transmission of actionable
Alive & the MDGs
MDGs 4 & 6: When an early diagnosis and
prompt, appropriate treatment for malaria,
diarrhoea or pneumonia is accomplished, a child
has a better chance of survival – and the child
mortality rate goes down.
MDGs 4 & 5: Through basic but crucial
practices like keeping the baby warm and
breastfeeding, a newborn baby has a greater
chance of staying alive and healthy.
MDGs 4, 5, & 6: When a mother accesses
follow-up antenatal (prenatal) care, she is more
likely to have a healthy birth – ensuring her
own health and survival, and the survival of her
baby. The maternal and child mortality rates will
likewise be reduced, and the HIV rate lowered
through the antenatal intervention that prevents
mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
More than half of Uganda’s children live in
vulnerable situations and are prone to human
rights abuses. They are orphans or children
living in households headed by another child
or by an elderly person; they are homeless
children, living on the street. They are
children who’ve dropped out of school. They
may be disabled, or forced to be labourers at
an early age; they are girls who’ve become
mothers before they’ve had a chance to grow
Vulnerable children suffer violence,
exploitation, and sexual abuse, and are at
risk of HIV/AIDS, early pregnancy, dying in
childbirth, and overall poor physical and
mental health. They endure daily acts of
violence at an alarming rate in homes,
schools, urban streets, the justice system,
and other spaces of daily life. And in homes
and communities where violence against
women is accepted and prevalent, invariably
the rights of children are also violated.
Without shared action to safeguard children
from violence and exploitation, the vicious
cycle of vulnerability and resulting human
rights abuses will continue to rob them of
the right to experience their childhood in
dignity; to learn, grow, play and be healthy.
The issues underpinning this vicious
cycle connect to every one of the MDGs,
affecting progress on these and other critical
development targets in Uganda.
With so much at stake, UNICEF Uganda is
working with the Government and partners
to Keep Children Safe. In particular,
Keep Children Safe aims to: increase
the registration of births – a first step in
establishing a child’s identity, rights, and
protection; prevent and respond to violence
against children and women; and ensure the
Government’s child protection framework,
including the justice system, successfully
provides adequate and gender-appropriate
care and protection of girls and boys harmed
or at risk of exploitation, violence and abuse.
Birth Registration
Birth registration – the recording of
a person’s existence by the state
administrative process – is fundamental to
securing a child’s rights and practical needs,
but currently only one out of five children is
registered at birth in Uganda. Without being
registered, a child’s existence, age, and
citizenship can be called into question. This
makes it difficult to protect her or him from
childhood-robbing realities like child labour,
underage military service, child marriage, and
being unfairly treated as an adult when in
conflict with the law.
In a groundbreaking move to keep children
safe, the Government with support from
UNICEF Uganda and our partner, Uganda
Telecom will implement across the country
a cutting-edge solution called Mobile Vital
Record System, or MobileVRS, which
will make it possible to complete birth
registration procedures in minutes, a process
that normally takes months. Through
MobileVRS and engaging with communitylevel “notifiers”, UNICEF aims to increase the
birth registration of children under five years
old from 21 per cent to 80 per cent by 2014.
That means four times as many Ugandan
children as today will have their birth rights
secured by 2014, and that the Government
will have sound data in order to plan for and
provide protection, health, education, and
other critical services.
Preventing and Responding to Violence
Keep Children Safe aims to both prevent
and respond to the problem of violence
in homes, schools, urban streets, the
justice system, and other spaces of daily
life. Our prevention efforts include raising
awareness of violence and reducing the
social acceptance of practices harmful to
children, such as through a national “ZERO”
tolerance to violence campaign. Part of
this work includes inspiring community
dialogue on sensitive issues like Female
Genital Mutilation and child defilement, and
increasing local demand for accountability on
child protection.
Through intersections with our Alive and
Learning work, we are training teachers and
Village Health Teams to prevent, report, and
respond to violence. This ensures we’ll reach
women and children in homes, healthcare
spaces, and schools.
All children have the same rights.
Keep Children Safe upholds basic
human rights of children, as codified in
the UN Convention on the Rights of the
Child. Among these rights are the right
to be registered at birth; the right to be
protected from economic exploitation
and harmful work; and the right to
be protected from all forms of sexual
exploitation, abuse, and physical or
mental violence.
We are mobilizing and training youth groups
to contribute to the protection of children,
helping them take action on these sensitive
issues affecting their lives. Through this
participatory effort, youth have a hand
in effecting change in their communities.
Through innovations that combine mobile
phone technology with training to become
social monitors, Girls Education Movement
clubs, Girl and Boy Scouts, school
management committees and others will
have a more effective and instrumental role in
keeping schools and communities safe.
Children Safe works to strengthen and
harmonize Uganda’s child protection policy
framework, so the Government is able to
effectively coordinate services and advance
the protection of children, especially orphans
and other vulnerable children. This includes
working with the Government to include
provisions for violence against children and
justice for children in policies and planning.
Shared action to prevent and respond
to violence must reach homes and local
communities, but also effect change at
district and national levels. At the national
level, we are supporting efforts like the
adoption of legislation addressing violence,
and helping the Government weave child
protection into teaching curricula for those
working in education, law enforcement, and
social welfare.
Child Protection Policy Framework
In Uganda, an estimated
One half of all children are
vulnerable and prone to human
rights abuses;
76% of children has experienced
sexual violence;
48% of women has experienced
physical violence at the hands of
their husband or partner;
One third of children aged 5-17
are working, some engaged in
child labour.
Without legislation that protects children,
the Government can’t provide adequate
and gender-appropriate care and protection
of girls and boys harmed or at risk of
exploitation, violence and abuse. Keep
Keep Children Learning
Uganda has achieved an enrolment rate in
primary schools of over 96 per cent (96%
boys; 96.5% girls), nearing universal primary
education. When we look at this valuable
achievement alongside other positive
efforts – like the expansion of learning
opportunities for
girls – an inspiring
Percentage of Uganda’s students
picture comes into
in Primary 6 who are…
focus: it is within
Competent in literacy= 50.5%
Uganda’s reach to
(49.8% boys; 51.1% girls)
achieve the MDGs
Competent in numeracy = 55.4% for education. The
(59.9% boys; 49.5% girls)
achievement of
MDG 2 (ensure
that all boys and girls complete a full course
of primary schooling) and MDG 3 (eliminate
gender disparity in primary and secondary
schooling no later than 2015), will have a
profound impact on the lives of millions
of Ugandan children, and will have direct
positive influence on all other MDGs and
critical development targets.
However, there are
roadblocks keeping
children from fulfilling their
right to reach the highest
level of education of which
they are capable, and
slowing Uganda’s progress
to the 2015 MDG finish
line. Approximately only
one half of the students
enrolled actually complete
a full course of primary
education. Out of the
students who do finish
primary school, only about
one half go on to get a
secondary education.
Girls Education
Movement (GEM)
clubs break down
barriers to learning.
GEM activities have
directly reached over
14,000 people and
helped more than
2,800 pupils who
had dropped out of
school return to their
studies. There are
nearly 1,800 GEM
clubs in schools and
communities across
the country, and an
aim of Keep Children
Learning is to expand
GEM clubs to all
primary schools in
Because so many children neither complete
primary school nor move on to the secondary
level, Uganda struggles under the weight
of out-of-school children and youth who
are themselves facing tough challenges
to development and growth. An out-ofschool 8-year old child might be shuttled
into the drudgery and abusiveness of
child labour; and an inexperienced, outof-school 16-year old youth faces being
shut out of the formal learning system on one
hand, while lacking any employable skills or
opportunities on the other.
This complex set of challenges requires a
unique, shared approach helping children
start learning early, stay in school, and finish,
while also creating learning opportunities
outside the classroom.
Early Childhood Development
When students enter school, they may not
have the basic skills, socially or cognitively,
to learn. Many children don’t enrol at the
right age – but timely enrolment, especially
of girls, is often critical to achieving a full
course of primary education. Keep Children
Learning supports community-based and
managed Early Childhood Development
Centres (ECD centres) to help more young
children from the ages of 3 to 5 years gain
the tools to be ready to go to primary school,
and help them enrol at the appropriate age.
Through an early learning and preparation
curriculum, ECD centres ultimately help
children and parents take maximum
advantage of primary school when the time
is right.
Improving the Quality of Schools and
The quality of teaching, and whether a
school is child-friendly (safe, healthy, gendersensitive, learning-focused, and children’s
rights-based) influences whether a student
regularly attends class – or drops out or is
pulled out by a parent. A child should never
have to drop out of school for fear of being
beaten by a teacher, for instance, or because
she is embarrassed about menstruation.
UNICEF Uganda works closely with the
Government and partners to help improve
the quality of primary school teaching
and learning, to ensure schools are childfriendly, and to improve the management
of the education system nationally. An
overarching part of this effort includes
helping the Ministry of Sports and Education
to successfully implement its Basic
Requirements and Minimum Standards
(BRMS) for schools, which are child-friendly
For example, UNICEF supports a coaching
and mentoring programme for Coordinating
Centre Tutors and school inspectors with
the aim of raising the quality of teaching in
schools by improving curriculum delivery,
lesson planning and teaching methods.
In intersections with Alive and Safe
programmes, we are helping the Government
improve the quality and safety of the school
environment. This includes increasing
access to child-friendly water and sanitation
facilities, and improving personal hygiene
behaviours. To keep children safe, we are
ensuring teachers are trained in safe school
standards while simultaneously strengthening
the effort to report violence against children
in schools.
Children Learning is to expand GEM clubs to
all primary schools in Uganda.
GEM clubs are helping both girls and boys
stay in school and finish. Through GEM, girls
are given a voice in their own education – for
example, in discussion forums where they
share concerns and ideas, an especially
important outlet for children who come
from homes where gender equality is not
readily accepted. GEM also provides books
and supplies to girls and boys who cannot
afford them, partly paid for by community
fundraising efforts like growing and selling
vegetables. GEM clubs across Uganda are
ultimately helping influence parents and
communities to appreciate the importance of
a child completing a full course of education.
In this way, girls and boys are being
encouraged by their families and peers,
rather than discouraged, to stay in school.
Girls Education Movement
Barriers like child marriage and pregnancy,
difficult situations at home (such as a sick
parent), and violence in and around schools
cause Ugandan children to drop out of
school and never return. And while Uganda’s
primary education is free, costs associated
with uniforms, books and other materials are
unaffordable for some families – creating yet
another roadblock to learning.
In order to break down barriers to learning,
we are working with our partners to expand
the Girls Education Movement (GEM), a
successful non-governmental organization
already reaching more than 14,500 people
in Uganda. In 2010, GEM helped more than
2,800 girls and boys who had dropped out
of school return to their studies. These
numbers are growing: an aim of Keep
Monitoring Quality & Safety using SMS
Through a UNICEF-supported innovation
already being piloted, GEM clubs, school
management committees and others in the
education sector will be able to monitor
aspects of the quality and safety of schools
using mobile phones. Acting as social
monitors, participants will be able to send
SMS reports to the Government on issues
like teacher absenteeism, violence against
children in schools, the use of textbooks in
the classroom, functionality of water points,
and other issues pertaining to the quality
and safety of schools.
Youth Centres
UNICEF Uganda is working with partners
to enhance community awareness and
involvement in education, and to bring
both in and out-of-school children together
in a safe place to learn, play and develop
their skills. We are achieving this through
the establishment of Youth Centres,
physical spaces at the village or parish
level where young people can learn, play,
and access information. Part of this effort
involves expanding access to information
and services by installing innovative
Information Access Points: rugged solarpowered computer kiosks that showcase
dynamic multimedia content on health, job
training, education opportunities and other
government services.
Crosscutting Strategies
UNICEF Uganda’s Keep Children Alive,
Safe and Learning programmes share
crosscutting strategies. Some of these
strategies are:
UNICEF Uganda’s Keep Children Learning
programme supports the Government of
Uganda’s Ministry of Education and Sports
Education Sector Strategic Plan 2010-2015,
and supports key national policy initiatives,
such as the finalization and implementation
of the Gender in Education policy, the ECD
policy, the Disadvantaged Children’s Policy,
and the national Early Learning Development
Standards. Keep Children Learning works
closely with the Education Development
Partners Group among other partners.
• Use communication for development
to bring about sustained behaviour
changes in communities;
• Ensure the protection of children
through disaster risk reduction
• Strengthen key partnerships;
• Strengthen supply chain systems;
• Engage in policy development,
law reform and planning/budget
discussions at all levels of
government; and
• Generate knowledge to improve
development planning, including
knowledge from children’s voices on
the key issues affecting their lives.
UNICEF Uganda partners with the
Government at the national and district
levels, civil society, and other partners
and contributes to the national-level
impact toward meeting Millennium
Development Goals, the objectives of
the National Development Plan, and the
planned outcomes of the United Nations
Development Assistance Framework.
UNICEF Uganda, supported by a unique Technology for
Development unit, is working closely with the Government, private
sector companies, and local non-governmental organizations to
develop and implement innovations to keep Ugandan children alive,
safe and learning. These innovative solutions use widely available
technologies like basic mobile phones and text messaging, and
are making it easier to do things like keep track of medicine stocks
at health centres, upload and share information on the quality of
community services, quickly register children’s births, and help the
Government plan for better service delivery.
UNICEF Uganda works to identify, test and expand the use of the
most promising innovations across the country. Through this effort,
we will be able to:
Improve the Government’s delivery of essential health,
protection, and education services;
Help communities and especially the most vulnerable
children and youth access information and social
services; and
Engage people, especially youth, to take an active role in
the development of their communities.
Information Access Points – Rugged Solar-Powered Computers
Many Ugandans do not yet have access to critical information and resources across areas
of health, education, job training, and protective services. The poorest, most isolated and
vulnerable children and youth are hit hardest from this lack of access when they do not benefit
from crucial services and resources that could improve their health, safety, and future.
In response, UNICEF is developing rugged solar-powered computer kiosks, some made out
of simple locally available materials such as metal drums, which will serve as information
access points aimed at youth and their communities. Dynamic multimedia content on health,
job training, education opportunities, and other government services will be available for free,
and interactivity will be built into the interface so that eventually communities can contribute
their own information and content to the package. These information access points are part
of UNICEF’s support to create community resource centres and spaces for young people
– physical locations at the village level where children and adolescents can play, learn,
collaborate, and access services and information.
Help communities and
especially the most
vulnerable children and youth
access information and
social services.
MobileVRS – Increased Birth Registration
Currently only one out of five children is registered at birth in Uganda. Without being
registered, a child’s existence, age, and citizenship can be called into question,
opening the door to child labour, underage military service, early marriage, and
being unfairly treated as an adult when in conflict with the law. UNICEF and Uganda
Telecom are helping the Government implement the Mobile Vital Record System
(MobileVRS), which uses mobile phone technology to complete birth registration
procedures in a matter of minutes, a process that normally takes months.
By using MobileVRS and engaging with community-level ‘notifiers’, UNICEF aims to
increase the amount of children under five who are registered from the current low
rate of 21 per cent to 80 per cent by 2014. That means four times as many Ugandan
children as today will have their birth rights secured by 2014, and the Government will
have sound data in order to plan for and provide protection, health, education, and
other critical services to the population.
RapidSMS – mHealth (mobile health) for Faster
Reporting and Response
Uganda’s front-line health promoters, Village Health Teams
(VHTs), are being trained to send real-time reports via SMS
(Short Message Service, or text message) on community
health issues like disease outbreaks, pregnancy rates, and
malnutrition levels. In comparison to filling out paper health
reports, this innovation significantly cuts down the time in
transmission of vital information that helps the government
plan and respond, ensuring quicker coordination by relevant
officials. Through the RapidSMS mHealth package, UNICEF
and partners predict the Ministry of Health could be receiving
SMS health reports from 900 health facilities and 4,000 VHTs
in 30 districts by 2012.
DevTrac – Tracking the Development of a
UNICEF and partners are developing DevTrac, a
simple, publicly available knowledge management
tool that will merge information on socio-economic
conditions, government services and development
projects with data collected directly from
stakeholders in the field. When fully operational,
DevTrac will enable the Ugandan Government and
its development partners to share information and
prioritize interventions. By having the impact and
results of development work in the field openly
shared and made more transparent, this will be a
valuable tool for advocacy and accountability. In
2011, UNICEF Uganda will be submitting field reports
to DevTrac including photos and voice recordings to
be shared with partners.
Improve the Government’s
delivery of essential health,
protection, and education
RapidSMS – Real-time Monitoring of Essential Medicine Supply
In order to contend with monthly stock-outs of six essential medicines in
northeastern Uganda’s health centres, the non-governmental organisation
FIND Diagnostics launched a pilot programme in two districts (Gulu and
Kabale) in early 2010 training health facility workers to submit their weekly
government reports by SMS, including real-time data to map the facility
stocking of essential medicines like the anti-malarial drug ACT. Today, working
with the Ministry of Health and FIND Diagnostics, UNICEF Uganda is using the
RapidSMS system to replicate and expand this programme across Uganda.
Through this innovation, the Ministry of Health will have real-time information
on medicine stocks, and district health offices will be able to successfully
lobby the National Medical Stores for resupply based on their ability to present
reliable and timely data.
Ureport – Social Monitoring
and Harnessing the Wisdom of
the Crowd
UNICEF Uganda has launched a social
monitoring initiative called Ureport that
currently engages over 700 Girl and
Boy Scouts from across the country
to report on health and development
issues in their communities. Because
the young reporters can generate low
cost, real-time information directly
from a community, it is an attractive
alternative to traditional monitoring
systems. Ureporters reach out to
others to become social monitors and
use the system in their areas, virally
building the network and expanding its
reach. The goal is to have at least one
Ureporter in each village, and starting in
2011 UNICEF will launch a Ureport TV,
radio and newspaper campaign to bring
the voice of these young reporters into
the national dialogue.
Engage people, especially
youth, to take an active role
in the development of their
Monitoring the Quality and Safety
of Schools using SMS
In 2011, UNICEF and the Ministry of Education
will engage with community-level advocates
such as the Girls Education Movement,
school management committees, faithbased community groups, and others in
the education sector to monitor aspects
of the quality and safety of schools using
mobile phones. Acting as school monitors,
participants will be able to send SMS reports
to the Government on issues like teacher
absenteeism, violence against children
in schools, the use of textbooks in the
classroom, functionality of water points, and
other issues pertaining to quality and safety.
The information collected will make it easier for
the Government to target their interventions,
and will provide greater accountability
to communities in terms of the quality of
education available to their children.
Population, 2009
Young population (under 18 years old), 2009
Population annual growth rate, 2000-2009
Human development index (HDI)
GNI per capita, 2009
People living below the poverty line of US$1.25/day, 1994-2008
Total fertility rate, 2009
Under-five mortality, 2009
Under-five mortality rank worldwide, 2009
Neonatal mortality rank (first 28 days of life), 2009
Maternal mortality, 2008
Skilled attendant at birth, 2005-2009
Life expectancy at birth, 2009
Stunting (percentage of children under 5), 2003-2009
Wasting (percentage of children under 5), 2003-2009
Children under 5 sleeping under an insecticide-treated mosquito
net, 2006-2009
Adult HIV prevalence rate (ages 15-49), 2009
Children under 15 living with HIV, 2009
Children orphaned by AIDS (ages 0-17), 2009
Women over 15 years old living with HIV, 2009
HIV prevalence among young people (ages 15-24), 2009
Use of improved drinking water sources, 2008
Use of improved sanitation facilities, 2008
Net primary school enrolment rate, 2005-2009
Net secondary school enrolment rate, 2005-2009
Completion – percentage of children who reach the last primary
grade, 2005-2009
Internet users, 2008
Literacy rate among youth (ages 15-24 years), 2004-2008
Birth registration (percentage of children under 5), 2000-2009
Child labour (percentage of children ages 5-14), 2000-2009
Child marriage (percentage of women 20 to 24 years old married
before age 18), 2000-2009
March 2011
32.7 million
6.3 children/per woman
128/per 1,000 births
30/per 1,000 births
430/per 100,000 live
53 years
1.2 million
Female: 4.8%;
Male: 2.3% Total: 3.6%
67% of population
48% of population
96% boys; 98% girls
22% males;
21% females
32% (UNESCO data)
8/per 100 of the
89% males;
86% females
Sources: All numbers from UNICEF’s The State of the World’s Children 2011, except: HDI (from UNDP Human
Development Report, 2010).
Lake K yoga
United Nations Children’s Fund
Plot 9 George Street, P.O. Box 7047
Kampala Uganda
Tel. : +256 417 171000
Fax. : +256 417 171001