Mr. Kibera: the positive deviant

Kibera Godfrey is a local leader (Defence Secretary) in Kasubi Zone 3, in the Ugandan capital Kampala. This area has a very dense population and like many poor urban areas, it has high levels of insecure housing, poverty, child labour and single parent families.

Although the area is only three kilometres away from Kampala city centre, it is a so-called ‘hard to reach area’, which lacks basic social services like education, health facilities, basic infrastructure and it has risky sanitation practices. In this environment, the battle to survive is intense. Education has not been high on the agenda of local leaders.

Mr. Kibera however, has gone against the grain and subverted the norm of the disengaged men by actively working to ensure that all children are in school. He has been ridiculed by some community members, told he is wasting his time volunteering instead of making money. He was even falsely accused of crimes he did not commit. And twice he has been jailed at police cells instigated by some fellow community members to “calm him down” and to make him drop his high ambition of changing the area.

Despite all these hardships and insults, Mr. Kibera is resilient in mobilizing his community to take their children to school. He is working on resurrecting the village meeting culture and is actively involved in collecting data from his zone. Mr. Kibera has already visited 610 households, identified 71 out-of-school boys and 69 out-of-school girls and is motivating parents to take their children to school. And he has a leading role in the process of creating community by-laws in his zone.

Because of Mr. Kibera’s zeal and dedication, fellow local leaders have pledged support to the Stop Child Labour project. Neighbouring zones are working on placing local posters in their communities saying: “All children in our zone must be in school”.

In Kasubi the organisation NASCENT is working on the development of Child Labour Free Zones. The project is part of the Stop Child Labour programme ‘Out of Work and into School’, supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. For this programme, Stop Child Labour collaborates with local organisations in India, Mali, Nicaragua, Turkey, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

>> Read more about the Child Labour Free Zones worldwide

>> Download the bi-annual report ‘Out of Work and into School’ (May-Oct 2015 pdf)