“Humanitarian Action in Africa: Children’s Rights First.”
June 16th marks the Day of the African Child and this year’s theme is “Humanitarian Action in Africa: Children’s Rights First”. This follows 2018’s theme of “Leave no Child Behind for Africa’s Development”, both working towards the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The theme for 2019 focuses on children in conflict and, on the Day of the African Child, the African Union’s Peace and Security Department and the Office of the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) renewed their commitment to prevent and end grave violations against children and to strengthen their cooperation to better protect children across the continent. This partnership shows a further opportunity to strengthen the 2030 Global Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s African Agenda 2063.
The Day of the African Child remembers the students killed in the Soweto Uprising in South Africa in 1976 as they protested against inequality in the apartheid regime and to demand better education. The Day of the African Child symbolises the ongoing fight to ensure children’s rights are at the forefront of development in Africa.
Emmanuel, Mugesa, Amir and Julias, Nyabinanga, 2017
Aidlink and our Kenyan partner organisation the Girl Child Network celebrate and honour the Day of the African Child. We work together to promote the rights of all children, with a special focus on the rights of girls and children with disabilities. Our projects empower children and assists them in furthering their abilities to learn and to lead.
Aidlink facilitates Rights of the Child clubs in schools, training children in their rights, as well as parents, teachers and boards of management. We cultivate school gardens in schools and provide lunches to students which act as incentives for parents to send their kids to school. Our work in improving school facilities, including access to water and latrines, improves girl’s chances of attending and staying in school.
Education is a powerful tool for sustainable change. It prevents harmful cultural practices such as child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM). By increasing school enrolment and completion, child marriage is delayed and will lead to girls earning more money after school and sending their own daughters to school.
Aidlink uses a child’s rights approach to our projects, and through education we improve lives in the short-term as well as in the future.
“Young people should be at the forefront of global change and innovation. Empowered, they can be key agents for development and peace. If, however, they are left on society’s margins, all of us will be impoverished. Let us ensure that all young people have every opportunity to participate fully in the lives of their societies.” Kofi Annan
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Photo: The Girl Child Network Day of the Child celebrations 2019, Kenya