What’s the link: Together for Girls, AfriChild research fellowship uses VACs data to explore linkage between household economic status, sexual violence and utilization of services in Uganda among adolescents


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The AfriChild Centre is running a research fellowship with Together For Girls that focuses on strengthening individual and institutional in-country research capacity to generate and utilize evidence for policy and programming for prevention and improved response to violence against children.

The focus of the research examines sexual violence and its effects on education, mental health, and HIV infection among females in Uganda using findings from the Uganda Violence Against Children Survey (VACs) data.

The research will illuminate the drivers and protective factors for sexual violence against children in Uganda and inform specific and targeted interventions both at national and sub-national levels

Research fellows

Dr. Kenneth Olido is the Senior Fellow. He is a senior lecturer and Head of Department in the Faculty of Business and Development Studies at Gulu University. His research project is – Adverse childhood experience and risks of HIV infection among Adolescents aged 13 to 24.

Agatha Kafuko is a Research Fellow. She is a lecturer at Makerere University in the Department of Social Work and Social Administration. Her Project is about the different forms of violence and mental health consequences among adolescent girls aged 13 – 17.

Three AfriChild staff are also participating in the research fellowship.

Clare Bangirana the Director Research and Knowledge Development is researching mental distress among females exposed to childhood sexual violence in Uganda. Findings from a national survey”.

Mathew Amollo a Research Manager is exploring the effect of witness violence in childhood on perpetuation of intimate partner violence in adulthood among young adults in Uganda.

Maria Ndibalekera a Research Assistant is examining the effect of childhood sexual violence on education achievements for girls aged (18-24) in Uganda. 

Launched in 2018, the Uganda Violence Against Children Survey (VACS) provides nationally representative data to inform policies and programming aiming to end violence against children in Uganda. The Uganda VACS is the first global Violence Against Children survey to provide regional level data, allowing for even more targeted programmatic implementation.

The VACS includes detailed information revealing Ugandan children’s experiences of sexual violence, physical violence, and emotional violence. The key findings of the survey expose the magnitude of violence against children and youth in Uganda:

  • 1 in 3 females and 1 in 6 males experience sexual violence during their childhood.
  • 1 in 10 girls experienced rape and 1 in 5 reported that her first sexual experience was forced or pressured.
  • For girls who experience sexual violence, the perpetrator is typically someone known to them, most often a neighbor, while for boys the perpetrator is most often a friend.
  • Nearly half of both boys and girls experienced physical violence at the hands of a parent or caregiver and for children and those who experience such violence at the hands of an adult, their first experience was nearly always committed by a teacher.
  • Reported consequences of verbal and emotional violence included increased likelihood of mental distress, suicidal ideation, and, among girls, contracting a sexually transmitted infection.  

AfriChild played a key role in the design, management of fieldwork, and dissemination of the VACs.

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