Entebbe is located on the northern shore of Lake Victoria and has a population of approximately 80,000. The city is home to Uganda’s only international airport and is therefore important in terms of trade and international relations. Despite the region’s wealth in natural resources, living conditions for large sectors of the population remain very difficult. Many families live in poverty. Harsh living conditions and lack of access to basic services are a reality for many, including children. Unsafe drinking water puts them at risk of falling ill. Furthermore, education is not accessible for children from a poorer background, especially girls.
Since 2003, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Entebbe.
The population In Entebbe is socially very diverse. Poverty levels have been on the decline in recent years and there are more and more permanently constructed houses. However, pockets of severe poverty remain. There are certain areas with a very high population density where living conditions remain harsh. In many cases, this persistent poverty is due to a lack of professional skills and hence employment opportunities, as well as a lack of capital, for example to start up a small business. Access to basic services here is limited. In fact, around 30% of households in Entebbe are not supplied with potable water. In many cases, children get diseases by drinking unsafe water. Diarrhoea along kills on average 33 children every day.
One of the best ways to escape poverty is education. While primary school enrolment is quite high in Uganda, including in Entebbe; access to secondary education is very limited. Only 1 in 5 children of the right age is enrolled in secondary school. School fees and other related costs are key factors that keep adolescents from poor backgrounds out of school. In many cases, they have to contribute to household income rather than go to school. Girls are particularly unlikely to continue going to school, as almost half of all girls in Uganda are married off before their eighteenth birthday, which usually means the end of their education.