I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Having been in post for just over 100 days I wanted to share some of my progress with you, as well as thank you for your incredible support in 2019. Thanks to you, we were able to support over 12,000 children to remain in families in 2019. Our plan is to support a further 30,000 children in families in 2020.
It’s been a busy 100 days. Here’s what I’ve been up to:
I was able to visit the programme in Uganda twice and spent time with our social workers and the wider team. We went away on a team-building day, where we connected with each other outside our normal activities and reinforced the importance of collaboration, especially in the work we do.
The team also shared their challenges, and we were all able to reflect on the progress we made in 2019, as we work with the government to build a child protection system that will ensure every child in Uganda can grow up in a loving family.
Whilst in Uganda I was also able to meet with the Minister responsible for Children & Youth and the newly appointed Children’s Commissioner to discuss our progress and relentless efforts to prevent family separation. I am pleased to report that the Government has renewed our partnership for another 5 years, and we will continue to work together in the districts of Tororo, Mpigi and the urban division of Makindye.
The government has also adopted a number of recommendations we have proposed in our advocacy work over the last 2 years, in collaboration with like-minded organisations, to be adopted into policy in 2020. These include;
- Prioritising family-based care for children under three years old separated from their families;
- The development of a framework and guidelines for foster care modelled on our pilot foster care programme;
- Provision of a national framework for supporting families to prevent the separation of children from their parents and families and ensuring access to quality alternative family-based care services for children deprived of parental care.
In a monumental achievement in global policy, in December 2019 for the first time ever all 193 states of The United Nations formally recognised that orphanages don’t protect children, they harm them and have called for the end of institutional care globally. The adoption of the Resolution at the United Nations General Assembly underlines what we’ve known for a long time: that children never belong in orphanages, they should grow up in a loving and caring family.
The fact that all 193 member states of The UN, the vast majority of the world’s countries, have made this public declaration shows that orphanages are now widely recognised as an unacceptable way to care for children.
Looking forward to next year, we have also now completed our budget and planning for 2020. This includes scaling our programme, taking 2 years of learnings from Tororo where no child has been placed in an orphanage since the beginning of the project, and applying them as we enter a new district – Mpigi. The 2020 plan will allow me to review and build on the 2017-2022 strategy. With your continued support and generosity, we will support 30,000 children in 2020.
I have continued to work with the team to look for new opportunities to ensure that the programme is well funded. Over 500 generous individuals have supported our work by giving their time, love, and money to our organisation both in the UK and Uganda. We will continue to grow our community of supporters in the New Year.
Here is a short video the team have put together summarising this and our hopes for the future. I look forward to updating you all again soon!