Uganda Child Helpline-116

In 2005, the first ever Toll Child Helpline Service in Uganda was initiated by Uganda Child Rights NGO Network and her two-member organizations; ANPPCAN Uganda Chapter and Action for Children (AFC) who were already running telephone services for children, with support from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.

The two toll free numbers (0800111222 and 0800111333) which were accessible on all networks were provided by Uganda Telecom Limited, who also met the call costs from other networks and supported publicity of the lines.

The Child Helpline is a technology-based outreach service that links children in need of care and protection to services and resources, it offers a confidential mechanism through which children can report abuse and access supportive services and resources including but not limited to counselling, rescue, health and justice services.

The process of transitioning the child helpline into a national mechanism was initiated in 2011 in order to guarantee national access and sustainable delivery.

2013 marked a turning point in the history of the child helpline as the short code ‘116’ was designated as an emergency number for children by Uganda Communications Commission, and the process of transitioning from the use of the 0800 toll free numbers to the short code number was started.

The national child helpline service is now being delivered through a collaborative partnership between government, the private sector and non-governmental organizations.

The service builds on existing expertise and serves as a vehicle for coordinated service delivery across sectors due to its emphasis on building a closely tied network of referral partners that remain accountable to each other for service delivery to children in need of care and protection. Currently, the service is accessible via 116.