Early Childhood Development:
These circumstances and opportunities of early childhood (0-5 years) are crucial in determining lifelong outcomes. Young children’s needs – and corresponding rights – include those related to health, nutrition, intellectual development, and protection from neglect and abuse. Many parents and caregivers do not recognize the importance of maternal health and early childhood care, and are poorly prepared for the demands of parenthood and child rearing. In much of Uganda, ante- and post-natal services are inadequate in both quantity and quality.
Parents are expected to ensure the registration of their children at birth. Registration underpins the right to a name, a nationality, and preservation of an identity. But only 22% of births are being registered at present – admittedly an improvement on the 2000 figure of 4%. In CEDO intervention areas (except Wakiso) the rate of birth registration is below 50%, calling for a systematic capacity development of the primary duty bearers and changing attitudes on the value of birth and death registration.
The official government position on early childhood care and Education (ECD) is to leave service provision of day care and pre-school to the private sector, while establishing ECD policies and standards to guide service providers. Fewer than 14% of children aged three to five years are enrolled in any kind of pre-primary education, and fewer still are participating in early childhood care and development (ECD) programs, either at home or at a centre.
Key rights issues for the under 6 years include: the right to a name and nationality, the right to survival and to enjoy the best attainable standard of health. Other identified rights issues include the right to a standard of living adequate for the child's physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development; the right to protection from all forms of inhuman and degrading treatment; as well as the right to an education that promotes and develops the child's personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential