Country Context

Although Uganda has made promising socio-economic strides since emerging from decades of conflict, many children still face myriad challenges there. Despite a growing economy, a large percentage of the population of 30-million+ people still live in poverty, stretching families’ capacities to provide a protective environment for their children to develop. Moreover, Uganda is one of the countries most affected by HIV and AIDS in the world, a situation that has orphaned over at least 1.2 million Ugandan children and severely tested extended kinship networks’ capacity to care for children. In this challenging context, the AfriChild Centre of Excellence is creating the evidence necessary to show what works to support families, communities, civil society, and government in caring for and protecting children.

Program Learning Group Description

The AfriChild Centre of Excellence on the African Child is a multidisciplinary research and training center seeking to improve children’s lives in Uganda and the East African region by building the evidence base through rigorous research on children’s protection and well-being. Hosted at Makerere University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, which is one of the core founding partners, the AfriChild Centre founding consortium also includes the CPC Learning Network Secretariat at Columbia University, UNICEF Uganda, TPO Uganda, ChildFund Uganda, and the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development. The AfriChild Centre will also become the institutional home of the CPC Learning Network’s Programme Learning Group (PLG), a 30+ member coalition of civil society, government, and academic members seeking to promote learning around child protection and family welfare.

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Research Priorities

Recent research in Uganda has significantly shifted programmers and policymakers’ ways of implementing child protection and family welfare programs. Two important pieces of research on community-based child protection mechanisms—one conducted in Arua and Nebbi districts and the other conducted with urban refugee populations in the capital city of Kampala—highlighted the ways in which community members defined harms to children. Both reports fostered significant debate among practitioners and policymakers by demonstrating that populations in three settings in Uganda not only defined “child protection” quite differently from official policies and programs but also relied largely on homegrown solutions rather than turning to service providers when issues arose.
The CPC’s efforts in Uganda have also generated significant learning about psychosocial and livelihoods interventions for children there. Through a consultative process, the CPC developed a series of locally relevant psychosocial indicators for measuring program effectiveness. The CPC also collaborated with the Bantwana Initiative to undertake a study in Western Uganda examining the impact of livelihoods programs on child protection and family welfare outcomes.


The CPC Learning Network in Uganda has transformed the findings from such research mentioned above into concrete training programs that have been integrated into three educational settings—Makerere University, Kyambogo University, and Nsamizi Training Institute. Developed under the leadership of TPO Uganda and validated by the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development, this national child protection curriculum presents three levels of specialization in child protection that students can pursue. This innovative manual for curriculum development has pushed the global envelope for demonstrating concrete ways in which social work programs can integrate child protection theory and practice into training programs at several educational levels—certificate, professional certificate, and bachelors.
Learning events in 2012 and 2013 also served as major catalysts for bringing the research to policymakers and practitioners attention and ensuring that the research findings informed national discussions about how to improve protective conditions and services for children. In March 2012, a national workshop entitled “Community-Based Child Protection Mechanisms and their Linkages with National Child Protection Systems” set the framework for future policy discussions about how to design programs that are relevant to children and their families. More recently in October 2013, the symposium “Adapting a systems approach to child protection in Uganda: What is the way forward?” provided government, NGO, and academic representatives an opportunity to touch base about their efforts to ensure children’s protection and development and to learn about the most up-to-date research.


December 11, 2013: SCORE Uganda Assessment Webinar

Presenter: Massimo Lowicki-Zucca, chief of party for AVSI’s SCORE project, Respondents: Jason Wolfe, USAID and Timothy Opobo, CPC Uganda PLG Coordinator



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