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Gulu Main Market Fails to Operate Day Care Centre

But many infants are still seen with their mothers in the market, while the centre with a capacity of more than 20 preschoolers is occupied by Uganda Registration Services Bureau – URSB, a semi-autonomous government agency responsible for civil registrations.
The Children Day Care Center at the Main Market in Gulu being occupied by Uganda Registration Services Bureau – Photo by Dominic Ochola

Audio 3

The  envisaged child care centre at Gulu Main Market has failed to operate four years after the facility was commissioned.

The centre is meant to host children below school-going age who are not allowed to spend long hours with their parents in the market. This was considered as one of the measures to protect the children from harm.

But many infants are still seen with their mothers in the market, while the centre with a capacity of more than 20 preschoolers, is occupied by Uganda Registration Services Bureau – URSB, a semi-autonomous government agency responsible for civil registrations.

The Market Master, Francis Megolonyo says that Gulu Municipal Council entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with URSB upon establishing that the centre was among the unoccupied facilities in the market.

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Laroo Division Chairperson Moses Abonga says that none of the vendors took children to the centre when the space was available which forced the Division to tender it out to willing entrepreneurs but, their efforts did not also yield.

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According to Abonga, the daycare centre was also complemented by a playground that was also never utilized but instead, it was vandalized due to conflict of interest between Laroo Division and the Mayor's office headed by George Labeja.

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But Gulu Municipal Mayor George Labeja dispelled the accusations of meddling in the work of Laroo Division.    

Jennifer Anena, a vendor at the market observed that many mothers with babies declined to take their babies to the centre because they were not making significant profit from their businesses at the time, to allow them to pay for services at the centre.    

The 29 billion Shillings’ Gulu Main Market was constructed and commissioned on October 1, 2016.  The market that sits a 4-acre-piece of land was built among other seven modern markets across Uganda under the Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvement Project (MATIP 1).