It’s happening in Uganda! The first ever Conference on the Family. The two-day conference being organized by the AfriChild Centre and Uganda Christian University’s (UCU) will be held at UCU’s main campus in Mukono between May 21 and 22.
It aims at providing a forum to reflect on state of the family, threats and opportunities to its existence and mainstreaming family issues at policy level. The chief guest is Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni, the first lady and Minister of Education and Sports.
This highly interactive event will bring together religious, cultural and political leaders; researchers and non-governmental organizations. It will be held under the theme: ‘The Family in the 21st Century: Strong? In Crisis? Changing? What is the future of this foundational unit of life in the community and nation?’
This conference has been purposefully designed to celebrate and affirm the declaration of 2017 and 2018 as the year of the family in Uganda. In 2017, His Grace, Stanely Ntagali, the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda underscored the fact that Ugandan families were facing deliberate attack by different forces both from within and outside.
“Domestic violence, drunkenness, drug abuse, sodomy, poverty, permissiveness and child sacrifice are targeting Ugandan families directly,” Ntagali said during a press conference.
It was during this press conference that he declared 2017 as the Year of the Family. This declaration was later pronounced by President Yoweri Museveni. To re-emphasize the critical role for the protection of families, the Archbishop declared 2018 as an extension of the year of the family.
Necessity of the Conference on the family
According to Joyce Wanican, the Executive Director, profound changes are shaping and modeling the contemporary family and marriage. Among the changes that are defining modern day families and marriages are: relaxed sexual rules that facilitate cohabiting; skyrocketing divorce rates and the fight for equality between men and women-thanks to the feminist movement.
Regardless of the changes, Wanican says that family remains the single most important influence in a child’s life.
“From their first moments of life, children depend on parents and family to protect them and provide for their needs. Families have an important role for ensuring the safety and wellbeing of their children. Therefore, this conference comes in engage all stakeholders to develop a road map to strengthen families in Uganda,” she says.
Topics of discussion during the conference will include: family and socio-cultural space: opportunities and challenges (Involving monogamous vs. polygamous families; single moms vs. married moms; biblical self-esteem vs. secular teaching) and mainstreaming family issues at policy level (e.g. low cost housing development for married couples and land registration for families.)
Out of the conference discussions, Church of Uganda will spearhead the enactment of ‘State of the Family Declaration’ for East African countries to work with. Additionally, a decision will be made on regularization of the family conference.