When children and youth are prepared to attend school, learn, and gain the skills they need for life and work, they will build more hopeful and prosperous futures for themselves, their families, communities, and countries. But when this does not happen, the future is ravaged, crime rates and violence raise, economic development is hampered with higher population percentages living in poverty. Any chances of realizing Sustainable Development Goals’(SDGs) agenda 2030 remains highly contingent upon our collective ability to safeguard children’s right (especially the girl child) to contribute to national development. This starts with keeping them in school. In Uganda, just like in many other least developed nations, with more than 40 percent of school going children missing so many days of school that they are academically at risk, our focus, primarily, is getting all children to school and ensuring that they attend with regularity.
We put our primary emphasis on child refugees. Children fleeing conflict or disaster often experience life changing conditions due to experiences in their country of origin, during displacement, and in the host communities. Conditions that make their school attendance challenged and fluctuated. Even with universal primary and secondary education that refugee children can access, conditions in refugee camps and settlements, and the wider socio-political and economic context of refugees’ lives, create structural conditions that make regular school attendance impossible.
- Violence Against Children (VAC),
- Poverty and,
- the School Culture (inappropriate school environment, low levels of outreach and engagement) have broadly been identified as the key contributors to absenteeism and our focus is on solving these.
Through Attendance Works program, we apply a number of student tailored tools and strategies that take a more holistic approach in confronting absenteeism and its underlying causes.