The Government of Sweden has today announced new funding to UNICEF to improve the lives of mothers, children and youth in Uganda under the agency’s new Country Programme 2021-2025.
The five-year funding worth 165,000,000 Swedish Kronor (app. UGX 67 billion/US$18,7 million) will be utilized by UNICEF to support the most vulnerable and underserved women and children in rural areas as well as in urban settings including refugees and host populations and those affected by humanitarian crises.
Importantly, the new funding will enable UNICEF to contribute to the accelerated mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign, critical for continuity of learning and safe reopening of schools and closely linked to the prevention of teenage pregnancies. Undernutrition in children is another government priority where UNICEF support is critical and that will be boosted by this contribution.
Under the new UNICEF Country Programme 2021-2025, UNICEF is committed to continue supporting government efforts to ensure increased access to and use of quality integrated health, nutrition, HIV, newborn, and water and sanitation services; improved learning for all children and young people; and protection of all boys and girls in Uganda from all forms of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation, including harmful practices.
The Swedish Ambassador, Ms. Maria Håkansson, was pleased to announce the extension of the long-standing partnership with UNICEF.
“The support comes at a critical time in Uganda’s fight against the COVID-19-pandemic. In the short term our support will enable UNICEF to play a critical role in the Government’s accelerated mass vaccination campaign that started last week. This will help prevent the expiry of millions of doses of vaccine and contribute to safe reopening of schools,” said Maria Håkansson.
She added, “Around half of Uganda’s population is below 18 years of age and 25 per cent of teenage girls in Uganda are already mothers or pregnant with their first child. Keeping girls in schools reduces the risks of early childbearing and child marriage.”
The UNICEF Representative to Uganda, Dr. Munir Safieldin, thanked the Government of Sweden for the continuous support extended to UNICEF especially at this critical time when the nation is slowly recovering from the pandemic.
“Since its declaration, children and young people are bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new funding received is clear evidence of our shared commitment to improve the lives of children in Uganda, that have been greatly affected by the pandemic,” said Dr. Safieldin.
“UNICEF remains extremely grateful for the Swedish support which will go a long way in supporting the Government of Uganda to ensure boys and girls have access to critical health care, protection services and are able to return safely to school and learn.”
The Government of Sweden is a significant partner to UNICEF Uganda since 2013, supporting the joint work undertaken by UNICEF Uganda and the Government of Uganda, most recently in the areas of maternal and newborn health, adolescent health, HIV/AIDS, and building health systems that facilitate the delivery of services. Under the recently concluded Government of Uganda-UNICEF Country Programme 2016-2020 that coincided with the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sweden supported the continuity of essential health services for children and women and other COVID-related emergency needs.
Dr. Safieldin emphasized that “the new funding will build on the gains made for children and support the country to build back better.” While UNICEF’s mandate covers the entire country, The Government of Uganda-UNICEF country programme 2021-2025, particularly aims at accelerating change for Uganda’s most deprived children and will be implemented in 29 districts with the highest numbers or rates of child deprivation and or districts that are especially vulnerable to external shocks such as refugee movements and the impact of climate change.