- A) International and Regional Conventions on Rights of Children and Youth
Uganda is a signatory to various international and regional conventions and protocols relating to rights of children to health, education, environment without violence, among others. Key among these include:
- The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC): Consistent with the obligation under Article 24 of the Convention, the child has the right to the enjoyment of the highest possible standard of health and to have access to healthcare and medical services. In its provision of health services, the State shall place special emphasis on primary and preventative health care and public health education. Article 19 advocates for protection of children from all forms of abuse and neglect, to provide support to those who have been abused and to investigate instances of abuse.
- The World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY), (1995) requires full enjoyment by young people of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and spells out fifteen fields of action including education, health, environment and substance abuse; and
- The Sustainable Development Goals which have accompanying targets, including:
Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all;
Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls;
- B) National Legal and Policy Framework on School Health
- The Constitution of Uganda (1995), (Chapter 4) guarantees the right of every Ugandan to fundamental human rights (Section 20); and to enjoy rights and access to high quality education (Section 34), health care services and clean and health environment (Section 39).
- Health Sector Development Plan 2015/16–2019/2024, which among other components, promotes adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health (AYSRH) including the establishment or functionalization of adolescent-friendly corners at all levels of health care, and promotion of sexual and reproductive health education in schools and communities.
- National School Health Policy for Uganda (Final Draft, 2018), that promotes the integration of life skills-based education at all levels of education and the improvement of access to and utilization of SRH services among young people. The policy also encourages linkages between schools with health facilities to ensure access to services for those in need.
- National Adolescent Health Policy for Uganda (2004), this provides a framework for the development of adolescent health programs and services, including reduction of pregnancy among adolescents and improving rates of readmission into the education system for young mothers.
- The Gender in Education Strategic Plan (2015–2020), that aims at ensuring that all children benefit from equal educational opportunities, regardless of gender, social status, location and ability.
- The National Strategy to End Child Marriage and Teenage Pregnancy (NSCM&TP) (2014/2015– 2019/2020), that is aimed at strengthening child protection mechanisms and upholding current legislation to encourage an environment conducive to ending child marriages and pregnancies; and in altering social and cultural norms to reduce the practice of child marriage and teen pregnancy in Uganda.
- National Strategy for Girls’ Education (NSGE) in Uganda (2014–2019). The purpose of this strategy is to address gender inequalities, especially in the school system, that are barriers to girls’ ability to complete their education.
- Reporting, Tracking, Referral and Response (RTRR) Guidelines on Violence against Children in Schools (2015/2020), that provides guidelines on violence against children in schools in Uganda.
- National Sexuality Education Framework for Uganda (2018), a framework for ensuring that sexuality education is an integral part of the policies and practices of the school, and in the partnerships the school develops with the local community, founding bodies, affiliated religious institutions and parents
Moses Wamanga is a Senior Education Specialist serving as a Team Lead at KAWA Uganda, an innovation and Edtech support organization that provides Professional Development services to enhance learning outcomes for educators and Learners around the country.