Mujuni says children as young as five years of age were cited at the National Scouts Camping site in Kaazi, a suburb of Wakiso district during this year’s national competition. This he says is against scouting guidelines.
The increasing number
of minors being allowed at the National scouts camping
sites has drawn concern from Patrick Mujuni Barugahare, the Chairperson of the National
Mujuni says children as young as five years of age were cited
at the National Scouts Camping site in Kaazi, a suburb of Wakiso district
during this year’s national competition. This he says is against scouting guidelines.
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According to Mujuni, the children can engage in
dubious activities left on their own, which might taint the image of scouting. He
says children aspiring to be scouts need to be brought up and trained in
schools and zonal camping areas as opposed to the national level.
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Kaazi, the practical training ground for the scouts, has for
many years been praised by students as a discipline-instilling ground. Every
year, thousands of scouts from all over the world gather for week-long
Participants undergo training on attitude
change, hygiene, reproductive health, and sensitization on the millennium
development goals as well as how to prevent HIV/AIDS.
The Uganda Scouts Association –USA guidelines provide for
‘Cubs’ the youngest category of scouts between 7-11 years, ‘Juniors’ between
12-15 years, ‘Venturers’ of ages 16-18 years and Rovers between 18-25 years.
According to Mujuni, scouting numbers have reduced in the
country but for the better. He says they used to have scouts who were only
known for shouting but less skilled. He says today they have impactful youth as
“We used to do scouting and a lot of it was shouting and
identifying yourself as a scout just but now it is identifying a scout by
actions. Because now we are skilling scouts, we want them to gain skills in
cookery, brick and block laying, fabrication of metals, weaving, sewing, crafts
making, soap making etc. We want them to gain skills so that they can stop
begging or feeling needy wherever they are,” Mujuni told URN.
Alice Nyiramahoro, the Assistant Deputy Chief Commissioner
for youth in charge of younger scouts (cubs) contends that scouting plays an
active and important role in the local communities particularly for Cub Scouts
as they are based in these communities.
She observes however that children being brought at the national
camping site isn’t right, saying they haven’t strictly enforced their
guidelines. Nyiramahoro contends that whenever minors come to the camp,
they are allocated in sub camps and assigned scout leaders who handle their
issues until they complete.
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Kiiza Rworoba, the Scouts Commissioner for Kamwenge and
Kitagwenda Districts agrees that children shouldn’t be allowed to participate
at the National level due to their vulnerability.
He says children should have their own scheduled camps where
they are given full attention by scout leaders in their zones where they can
easily return home at the end of the day.
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Damalie Namukasa, a caretaker of children from El-Bethel
Junior School in Mukono told URN that she brought 26 children to the camp with
her colleagues. She discloses that they bring the children with the consent
of their parents.
According to Namukasa, it is better for the children to learn
some of the activities such as washing utensils, cooking, keeping themselves in
their early years. She says among other things; they train children
in all these.
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Uganda Scouts Association-USA is part of the World
Organization of the Scout Movement, an international scouting organisation
whose mission is to contribute to the education of young people, through a
value system based on the Scout Promise and Scout Law and to help build a
better world where people are self-fulfilled as individuals and play a constructive
role in society.
The Scout Movement was founded in 1907 by Robert
Baden-Powell (1857-1941), a soldier and artist who started with 20 boys in a