For five years, Barack has been advocating for ending violence against children in Uganda. Now 15, he continues to be a Changemaker - helping to formulate proposals to stop child marriage and child labour at his Children’s Parliament as well as championing the rights of children on radio talk shows and on live TV.
Q&A with Barack
lightly edited and condensed for clarity
What is your favourite memory from your childhood?
When my Dad took me out to the Zoo in Entebbe, and I saw a big snake.
What is your favourite food to eat?
Fish and Irish.
What is your favourite thing to do for fun?
Who is your favourite actor/singer/dancer/influencer?
What is the issue you advocate on and what made you decide to take on this issue?
Ending violence against children, especially child marriage. This is because even what is considered an insignificant form of violence can end up negatively impacting their future. Consequences arising from some forms of violence such as child pregnancy may not be reversed and can lead to increased school drop out of a girl child. Thus, I call for change in stakeholder attitudes and behaviour towards different issues.
Because a protected and educated child is a happy child. I want to see children especially the girl child living a better and fulfilled life that every child wishes to have with joy, education, parental support and achieving their dreams. Secondly, because of the specific vulnerabilities experienced by the girl child.
Save children, save Uganda.
What would you say to yourself 5 years ago?
Situations can change if we all join hands.
What would you say to leaders if you had the chance to talk to them directly?
Provide the basic needs of suffering children in our communities. Set an example for children and give children opportunity to demonstrate their potential as future leaders.
What would you tell a future Changemaker?
Protecting children's rights should be a priority for everyone. You need to focus efforts on advocating for prevention of the increasing cases of child mistreatment.
What is something you hope to accomplish in 1, 5, 10 years?
One year: Ensuring that leaders set an example and are willing to help all children to fulfil their potential.
Five years: I hope to see a community where there is a reduction in reported cases especially of defilement and child pregnancy.
Ten years: I want to be part of a community where all children can access education and the existing laws and policies are child-friendly and are being implemented effectively.
What challenges have you encountered in your advocacy work?
Initially I lacked boldness to speak openly in public.
I would as much as possible reach out to more people beyond my community, engaging them on child rights protection, but I am limited by means. For example, lack of airtime for radio talk shows to enable me reach out to a wider mass of people to express myself about children’s issues.
What is the most encouraging thing that has happened during your work with this issue?
The support I receive from World Vision that has equipped me with the child advocacy skills, but also the exposure to the world of great men and women that share my child advocacy passion.
What is the funniest thing that has happened during your advocacy work?
While live on TV sharing about child rights advocacy, I corrected the NTV presenter who addressed me [by the wrong name].
Do you advocate alongside other children and young people, and how do they inspire you?
Yes. The opportunity of working with other young people inspires me because I am able to share my experiences and also learn from theirs. Learning that other children are equally engaged in child rights advocacy work gives me morale to keep on advocating for children’s voices.