A Glimpse of Poverty in Central Uganda

  • Central Uganda includes the capital, Kampala, where unemployment and underemployment are high.
  • Caregivers typically work at whatever jobs they can find in the industrial sector, earning a meager wage.
  • Caregivers are often absent from home, leaving children to fend for themselves. As a result, many go hungry and lack medical care.
  • Few families can afford the required fees for their children to attend school.
  • Domestic abuse is common in this region and children are often neglected or battered by their parents.
  • Without proper parental guidance and nurture, children in central Uganda’s urban centers are also vulnerable to such bad influences as gang activity, crime and drug abuse.
  • Often children leave home to live on the streets where the risk of exploitation is high.
  • In addition to the city of Kampala, this region includes some rural areas, which share a large portion of Lake Victoria with Tanzania and Kenya. Unemployment is a major problem in these more rural communities.
  • Without intervention, children in central Uganda have little hope of overcoming their circumstances and becoming happy, healthy and productive adults.

LIFE

Geography & Climate

  • Central Uganda, home to the country’s capital city, Kampala, has 16 districts.
  • The region shares a large portion of Lake Victoria with Tanzania to the south and Kenya to the east.
  • Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest lake and the world’s second largest inland freshwater lake after Lake Superior.
  • Among Lake Victoria’s many islands is the Sese archipelago, known for its great natural beauty.
  • The soil in the lake region is especially fertile and among the most productive in the world.
  • The annual rainfall can be as high as 80 inches occurring mostly during two rainy seasons — March to May and September to November.
  • The climate in this region with abundant rainfall is usually ideal for farming, however, flooding occurs occasionally.

Economy

Home to the capital city and the country’s only international airport, the central region is also Uganda’s business hub.

In addition to working in the business sector, many families in the area farm coffee and cotton. Often, families also raise cattle and goats to supplement their meager incomes.

Children at Home

Urban homes in central Uganda are usually small structures with mud or brick walls and metal roofs.

In urban centers like Kampala, the government has sponsored housing development projects to keep up with the growing population.

Over recent years, the number of street children and impoverished people in Kampala has increased noticeably.

Issues and Concerns

  • Unemployment is a critical issue in Mubende. Groups in Uganda occasionally hold demonstrations against the government. However, economic improvement is slow, and rural Ugandans continue to live in conditions of great suffering and need.
  • Due to the lack of opportunities, many of the city’s youths fall prey to drug abuse, crime and gang activity.
  • A large part of the capital city is located in a flood-prone region. The seasonal floods often lead to outbreaks of cholera and other illnesses caused by drinking unclean water.
  • Also, standing water — a prime breeding ground for mosquitoes — leads to thousands of cases of malaria each year. Children are affected more often than adults.

LOCAL NEEDS AND CHALLENGES

Bad influences

Young people are faced with such pervasive influences as drug and alcohol abuse and the temptation to join violent gangs.

Domestic issues

Other dangers to children include sexual abuse and neglect, domestic violence, and disintegration of families.

Health dangers

Malaria, HIV and AIDS, malnutrition and lack of access to clean water also threaten children’s health.