Mr. Moses Ntenga is the Founder & Director of Joy for Children, an advocacy & action Center championing the rights of all Children to live peacefully & without exploitation, to benefit from quality free education, to thrive in economic security, and to prosper with access to clean water, good health care, & nutrition.
With many years of experience in community building & engagement, focusing on the strength of coalitions to create change thru inclusivity & diversity, Mr Ntenga led the creation & serves as the co-chair of the 50 member Ugandan National Alliance to End Child Marriage, a response to The Elders’ call to end the practice of child marriage in one generation.
As a member of Girls Not Brides International, The National Alliance was instrumental in the adoption of Uganda’s first National Strategy on Child Marriage in a country with nearly 40% of girls under 18 married, one of the highest rates in the world. Mr Ntenga & Joy for Children designed “Girls Empower” an innovative, holistic model that directly empowers girls to stay in school which has seen promising transformation in child marriage practices in Western Uganda.
Mr. Ntenga & Joy for Children were a key instrument to bring to the attention of The World Bank serious human rights issues of exploitation and sexual violence against children that occurred during the Bank’s Uganda Transport Sector project, an action which has resulted in positive advancements including a new focus on children & women in World Bank policies & procedures, the creation of a World Bank “Task Force on Gender-based Violence”, and a review by other international development agencies of policies with a focus on these issues crucial to children’s well-being.
Since 2005, Joy for Children has advocated for non-violence & best practices in schools, legal rights for children, freedom of children from labor & exploitation, & malaria prevention & healthcare education & access thru implementation of programs with partners such as KIOS, DFID, Plan Intl, UNFPA, Equality Now, Bank Information Centre, World Vision, Global Giving, Girls Not Brides, Church of Versailles, HURINET, Raising Voices, Graca Machel Trust & The A’lani Kailani Foundation.
Mr Ntenga is firmly committed to improving lives of the most vulnerable thru Joy for Children & Communities Women & Children’s Empowerment program in the Kampala slums which has created women’s business & skills training, health insurance, child sponsorship & welfare programs, along with providing services to families with disabilities.
Mr Ntenga has served on the Uganda chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality, as Ambassador for the International Blue Cross, & Vaccine Champion for MACIS.
He has presented at & attended international conferences at The United Nations, World Bank, Girl Summit, Girls Not Brides in UK, Turkey, Tanzania, Kenya, Morocco, Zambia, Dar es Salaam and launch in South Africa, and KIOS summits in Finland, has written on topics vital to children’s welfare and been featured in the BBC’s “On the Tea Trail with Simon Reeves”.
Mr Ntenga grew up in rural Uganda & holds a Masters in Human Rights from Makerere University, a Certificate in International Development and Social Change from Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, & a certificate in Administrative Law from the Law Development Centre, Kampala, Uganda.
Interview With Moses Ntenga
Q: When and why did you establish JFCU?
A: I founded Joy for Children-Uganda (JFCU) in 2005 as a non-profit children’s rights centre and non-governmental organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice to children in Uganda. We currently have offices in Kampala, Central Uganda, and Kabarole District, Western Uganda. Our ten-person staff, along with local and international volunteers, creates and implements human-rights-based initiatives that improve children’s lives.
Q: What is your vision for JFCU?
A: We envision all children in Uganda enjoying their rights, being protected and cared for, and having equal opportunities to realize their full potential. JFCU aims to be a well-connected, well-known children’s rights advocacy and action centre delivering high-impact services for children in Uganda.
Q: What is the age group of the children you’re helping, and in which areas of Uganda are you most active?
A: Children from infancy up to the age of 18 benefit from our services. We are currently serving children in Central and Western Uganda, in both urban and rural areas.
Q: What specific issues do you address?
A: The plight of orphans and vulnerable children in Uganda inspired the formation of this organization. We are working to prevent all forms of violence against children, including abandonment, neglect, abuse and child labour, and to ensure that every child has equal access to high-quality education, particularly girls.
We are also working to end the sexual exploitation of girls and the damaging practice of child marriage. Other issues affecting children such as poverty; poor health due to HIV/AIDS, malaria and malnutrition; conflict in families; and the need for clean water, sanitation and food security are also at the forefront of our advocacy and activist work.
Q: What are your main projects and strategies?
A: We are supporting and implementing community-based initiatives to prevent violence against children and send more children to school. Our Good School Toolkit, which is being used in more than 450 schools in Uganda, provides teachers with educational and technical assistance to create an optimal, violence-free learning environment.
In conjunction with our grass-roots Girls Not Brides Empower Project, which aims to end child marriage in Uganda and keep girls in school, we are partnering with more than 15 local and international organizations in a massive public education effort to end child marriage and support girls’ empowerment and equal access to education.
We are also encouraging economic development in the slums of several Ugandan cities with child education sponsorship, health insurance, savings and credit programmes, and income-generating activities for women.
We are implementing all of these initiatives by training local government officials to uphold their responsibilities as set forth in the Children’s Act of Uganda, the Ugandan Constitution, and the United Nations Child Rights Convention. We produce community- and school-based events incorporating drama, poetry and music to further public education on issues affecting children.
We participate in press conferences, media interviews and interactive radio programmes that allow for feedback from the community. And we help to organize local women’s meetings and children’s support groups comprising community leaders, teachers, parents, health practitioners and JFCU staff members.
Q: How successful have you been?
A: To give a few examples, we’ve sent 70 disadvantaged children to school and taught more than 200 women reading, writing, business and craft skills so they can better support their children. We are working with over 100 schools to end discrimination against girls and increase their access to education. We’re one of the leading organizations working to end child marriage in Uganda and throughout the world.
To date, we’ve rescued more than 3,000 children from violence, including those who have been abused and abandoned, and have found better homes for them. We have also worked with local volunteers to establish 57 child-support groups throughout Uganda, who work directly with vulnerable children through one-on-one counseling.
And JFCU was recently featured in the BBC documentary “On the Tea Trail with Simon Reeve,” which highlighted child labour practices at tea plantations.
Q: How are you funded?
A: We are funded through the generosity of private foundations, individuals and non-governmental organizations throughout the world. Currently, we receive no government funding.
Q: What are some of your most pressing needs?
A: We need funding for all our programmes, including our public education efforts and training for our staff and volunteers. We also need computers, video cameras and transportation vehicles to help us work more effectively and keep our offices open.
Q: What are your goals for the future?
A: We hope to establish additional children’s rights centres in Uganda, which are self-sufficient and will enable us to expand and sustain our programmes focusing on the prevention of violence against children and children’s education. We are also planning to build schools for children to provide high-quality education in parts of Uganda where there are either no schools or children live too far away from existing schools. So we need to raise funds for these initiatives as well.
Q: Why is JFCU’s work so important to the well-being of children in Uganda?
A: Children’s lives are being transformed by our efforts to prevent all forms of violence against children and to ensure that every child has equal access to education. Every day, we are reaching children directly who face severe challenges. Every child deserves the right to food, the right to health, the right to education, and the right to be a child. We are committed to securing these rights and ending suffering for all children in Uganda.
Q: How can one support a child in Uganda?
A: You can sponsor a child’s education and keep in touch with that child throughout the year, building a personal relationship.
You can make a donation to JFCU by cheque or bank draft. We also accept online donations and in-kind donations such as books, children’s toys, videos, computers, clothing and other gifts.
You can also support children directly by volunteering in our programmes, becoming an intern with JFCU, or applying for a job with us.
Email: P.O. Box 15383, Clock Tower, Kampala, Uganda
Tel: + 256 703 65 32 33 (whatsapp) Twitter: @MosesNtenga Skype: moses.ntenga