154.4 Social injustices of exclusion: The meanings of childhood in Namuwongo slum – Kampala

Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Margaret SIMS , Education, University of New England, Armidale, Australia
Charles KIVUNJA , Education, University of New England, Armidale, Australia
David NDUNGUTSE , Internal Health Sciences University, Kampala, Uganda
Teddy NAGADDYA , International Health Sciences University, Kampala, Uganda
Florence NAKAGWA , International Health Sciences University, Kampala, Uganda
Evelyn AYOT , Registrar, International Health Sciences University, Kampala, Uganda
On the outskirts of Kampala lies Namuwongo – a slum of 8,500 dwellers, approximately one third of whom are children below the age of 10. Residents came mostly from Northern Uganda where confrontation between the Ugandan Government’s forces and the Lord’s Resistance Army caused refuge-like displacement of people in their own country. There is no public housing and people construct their own shelters out of twigs, reeds, clay and mud. The settlement sits on a swamp whose high water table does not permit the digging of deep pit latrines by individual households. A few latrines constructed on elevated platforms are provided by the local Council for public use, at a fee which most dwellers can hardly afford, especially since they are unemployed. Consequently, many dwellers dispose of their waste by tipping it into the open sewer drains, wrapping it in plastic bags and disposing of these in drains, roofs or buckets, which are later emptied into the drains. Most of the parents in the slum received no education. There is one privately run, multigrade community school, housed in a shed with no windows and clad with corrugated iron sheets. This is the phenomenological scene investigated by our research and from which the meanings of childhood for the thousands of children, were captured through the children’s drawings and narratives depicting some of the social injustices to which they are subjected; including exclusion from education, healthy living and parental care; exposure to extreme poverty, hunger and disease and not having access to safe drinking water. Informed by the children’s personal experiences, our future research proposes to engage in building secure relationships with adults and children in Namuwongo so as to make a positive difference to the meanings they make of their childhood and accelerate their achievement of Millennium Development Goals.