UCRN’s activities are anchored around four mutually supportive programmes and these are to be achieved through the five pillars that describe how the different programme areas are to be implemented. These include:
Research, Information and Advocacy
Pillar: Research and knowledge management
Research and knowledge management are a fundamental basis for effective advocacy work. Aware that there have been many research studies undertaken both by government and non-governmental agencies on the situation of children; UCRNN envisions creating an information hub on child rights issues in the country. In this regard UCRNN is generating up to date information on child rights issues and in addition establish a platform for information on child rights issues and emergent developments in the area of children’s rights both locally and globally that is accessible by different stakeholders.
In order to be a credible advocacy organisation at national and regional level, UCRNN is building capacity to be a leader in child rights research, knowledge management and data generation and dissemination. This involves but not be limited to; ccoordinate member’s research activities and with the emphasis on learning, sharing available information relevant to children’s rights and wellbeing, Publishing and availing regular information to members and other stakeholders for advocacy
For UCRNN to effectively realize her set strategic objectives, a lot depends on the success of the advocacy work. Promoting a common voice and collective action is therefore a key strategy for the network in the coming five years. The network leading in coordinating and voicing out concerns on child rights violations and mobilizing members and partners to do the same, UCRNN strengthens the operationalization of thematic groups to harmonize advocacy coalitions and partnerships within the advocacy agenda. UCRNN also is in the process of developing and operationalizing a comprehensive advocacy strategy that will be implemented alongside her 2014-18 strategic plan.
Partnerships and Member Services
Pillar 1: Building strategic alliances
Alliance building has been identified as a main strategy mainly because of the need to strengthen coordination among child focused CSO. UCRNN strengthens existing alliances and networks as well as tap on to non-traditional child actors in influencing child rights activities in the country. Deliberate effort to establish and maintain contacts with various partners has been given priority including building and consolidating partnerships with the private sector, donor agencies and other thematic networks. This serves as a platform to facilitate effective engagement and collaboration among child actors in the country, expand and strengthen strategic alliance through partnership and building networks between and among interested parties beyond the traditionally recognized stakeholders and likeminded organizations to advance the cause for children. These will include organizations and networks national, regional and international levels whose agenda may not be child rights but are able and willing to advance the cause of children within their broad mandate.
Above all, UCRNN aims at building an alliance through dialogue and consultation in order to create a transnational advocacy network that will contribute to the institutionalization, branding and profiling of UCRNN as a credible and influential voice for children in Uganda, regionally and globally.
Pillar 5: Effective and Efficient UCRNN
In a bid to strengthen organizational capacity, UCRNN is institutionalising: strong governance, management and leadership (policies, systems and procedures review for internal controls and systems of continuous learning); human resource planning (development and retention for increased efficiency and effectiveness); Monitoring and Evaluation (developing a comprehensive M&E system to document impacts of strategy as well as lessons and best practices); promote information technology and communication, and fostering fundraising efforts (through strategic partnerships and alliances increasing funding portfolio and diversify funding bases as well as building reserves.
- Effective and Efficient UCRNN pillar will therefore lead t the following key interventions:
- Strengthen policies and processes of the Board to support UCRNNs work and continued success as well as plan for succession of qualified Board members
- Recruit, develop and retain management and staff inclusive of arrival at reasonable collective agreements
- Deliver quality programmes and regularly appraise annual work plans as well as housing programmes in facilities that are safe, and adequate for potential future growth
- Promotes a clear research agenda that is linked to UCRNN advocacy strategy and priorities
- Institutes a monitoring and evaluation system including a monitoring and evaluation plan
- Strengthen the internal resource mobilisation capacity & evolve a resource mobilization plan
- Build stronger partnerships with organizations addressing issues of children’s wellbeing and welfare
- Set up platforms to allow members to express their advocacy agenda on regular basis
- Deliver on regulatory financial and reporting requirement in compliance with donor requirements.
- Continue to engage in the coordination role for all CSOs promoting the rights of children in Uganda.
Child Welfare Services
Pillar 3: Preventing Violence against Children
The country ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its two optional protocols on children and armed conflict; sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography; Penal Code Act, Children’s Act, Domestic Violence Act, and Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act).
Despite this, 38.8% of children experience physical violence; 32.2% of children experience sexual violence; 35% of children living and/or working on the street; the police record an average of 9,461 defilement cases annually (Police report 2008 - 11); and 15% of women in Uganda are married by the age of 15.
The National Child Helpline (CHL) has been instituted in partnership between MGLSD and UCRNN and is been managed and implemented under the framework of a three (3) year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The Child Helpline management plan has been designed to ensure efficient and effective implementation of all the planned activities within the stipulated time frame with the hope to mitigate and/or prevent violence against children
Pillar 1: Building strategic alliances
Alliance building has been identified as a main strategy mainly because of the need to strengthen coordination among child focused CSOs. UCRNN strengthens existing alliances and networks as well as tap on to non-traditional child actors in influencing child rights activities in the country. Deliberate effort to establish and maintain contacts with various partners has been given priority including building and consolidating partnerships with the private sector, donor agencies and other thematic networks. This serves as a platform to facilitate effective engagement and collaboration among child actors in the country, expand and strengthen strategic alliance through partnership and building networks between and among interested parties beyond the traditionally recognized stakeholders and like minded organizations to advance the cause for children. These include organizations and networks national, regional and international levels whose agenda may not be child rights, but are able and willing to advance the cause of children within their broad mandate.
Above all, UCRNN aims at building an alliance through dialogue and consultation in order to create a transnational advocacy network that contributes to the institutionalization, branding and profiling of UCRNN as a credible and influential voice for children in Uganda, regionally and globally.
In September 2005 with support from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, the first ever Toll free Child Helpline Service in Uganda was initiated by Uganda Child Rights NGO Network and two of her member organizations; ANPPCAN Uganda Chapter and Action for Children (AFC). Uganda Telecom Limited offered two toll free numbers that were accessible on all networks with the following access numbers; 0800111222 and 0800111333.
In 2009, the child helpline implementing partners in collaboration with the MGLSD developed a five-year strategic plan to provide a framework for the operationalization of a national child helpline service using the short-code 116 in the place of the 0800 numbers. The overall goal was to have “an effective child protection network providing integrated reporting, action and referral mechanisms that responds to children’s protection needs throughout Uganda”.
The innovation in the helpline with the 116 short code means that technology has made it possible for millions of children to be heard from the different corners of the country. Sauti is the respected brand that Ugandans will rely on for confidential, efficient solutions 24/7. It’s these attributes of Sauti that we need to promote nationally.
From November 2014, Uganda Child Rights NGO Network transitioned the management of the Child Helpline and the staff that was working in there to the government of Uganda under the management of Ministry of Gender,
Labour and Social Development. This dream of a voice platform for the Ugandan child to be heard to be managed and owned by the government of Uganda was a dream of UCRNN that finally came true. An achievement we all celebrate!!!