Lusaka, 21 June 2018: Panos Institute Southern Africa urges governments in the region – as the duty bearers – to scale up efforts to address the challenges that children face in accessing services in education, healthcare, social protection and food.
A recently published Save the Children End of Childhood Index 2018 report shows that children’s enjoyment of the rights to education, health and adequate standard of living, among others, are low across Southern Africa. The report showed that Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe have faired badly in protecting children and adolescents from malnutrition, limited access to education, child labour, child marriage, early childbirth and extreme violence.
Panos is of the view that supporting the realization of children’s rights is part of investment in human capital, which can be harnessed to drive socio-economic development in the future. The realization of children’s economic, social and cultural rights creates a conducive environment for the development of skills which will enable them, in the long term, to contribute to the development of their communities or countries. By failing to protect these rights, the countries are depriving themselves of human capital that would come in handy in the future.
Considering that the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and African Union already have measures to promote children’s economic, social and cultural rights, we encourage governments within the region to domesticate these measures to address the many challenges that are stopping children from realizing their full potential. We encourage all governments in the region to put in extra effort to ensure that no child is forced out of school, no child is forced into marriage or subjected to extreme violence. Panos is of the view that with commitment from all stakeholders, it is possible to improve the region’s ranking in terms of providing a conducive environment for children.
Panos emphasises that meeting children’s economic, social and cultural rights protection is the responsibility of the state or government. However, other stakeholders such as traditional and religious leaders, civil society, the private sector, cooperating partners, and most importantly, communities, also have a role to play in complementing the government efforts. One of the ways of achieving this is by ensuring child friendly and child responsive budgeting, ensuring that national budgets adequately reflect commitment to realization of children’s rights.
Panos is currently working with the media, civil society, traditional leaders and religious leaders to raise awareness about the numerous barriers to children’s development, and mobilizing the stakeholders to take action to change the situation. Panos is facilitating the creation of platforms for children to participate in and influence decision making processes at local and national level. We are confident that through concerted efforts, we can make Southern Africa a better place for children.
Lilian Saka Kiefer
Executive Director, Panos Institute Southern Africa (PSAf)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: +260978778148/9