According to the 2015 Violence Against Children Survey (VACS), among children aged 13-17 years, one in four girls (25 percent) and one in ten boys (11 percent) reported experiencing sexual violence in the past year. Only a few of these cases are reported. Many countries in Africa are grappling with similar challenges of addressing sexual violence against children.
AfriChild and regional Pan African Child Rights Stakeholders have agreed to collaborate to jointly mobilize resources and to support governments address violence against children and combat sexual exploitation of children in Africa.
This comes after AfriChild and Uganda Child Rights NGO Network (UCRNN) undertook a strategic visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to explore opportunities for partnership with regional stakeholders at the Pan African level.
The visit took place between 11th and 15th February 2020. The delegation was led by Timothy Opobo, ED AfriChild and Stella Ayo Odong, ED UCRNN.
The objectives of the visit were to introduce AfriChild to the Pan African Child rights stakeholders, promote opportunities for collaboration between AfriChild and the regional level partners and explore opportunities for joint programming with institutions.
AfriChild and UCRNN held collaboration meetings with the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF), The Secretariat of African Committee of Experts in the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Director of Social Affairs of the African Union, Directorate of Human Rights in the University of Addis Ababa and African Partnerships to End Violence Against Children.
Areas identified for joint collaboration are child mental health programing, national violence against children surveys, sexual exploitation of children in Africa, establishing a National Child Observatory at AfriChild to monitor how governments are performing on delivering commitments for children and adopting the Child Friendliness Index to generate information and assess how friendly African governments are towards children.
key outcomes of the meeting were:
• Child Mental Health Programing: Childmental health was identified as a potential area of laboration. AfriChild will take lead in generating a concept paper tapping on the already existing collaboration with Washington University. ACPF to dedicate a focal point for this purpose.
• National VACs surveys: There is resident capacity within AfriChild, ACPF, and APEVAC on coordinating national level VACs. These institutions can collaborate to jointly mobilize resources and support national governments to shape theVAC agenda through generating evidence to inform VAC programing.
• Sexual Exploitation of Children in Africa: In 2019, ACPF published an Africa report on Sexual Exploitation of Children. The report covers data from three countries and provides insights on the situation of sexual exploitation of children. ACPF Plans to organize consultative meetings at national level in those countries. A proposal to include Uganda as one of the countries for National consultation was made. AfriChild and UCRNN will liaise with ACPF in organizing this.
• Establishing a National Child Observatory: The African child observatory serves to monitor how governments are performing on delivering commitments for children. ACPF plans to rollout country level observatories. AfriChild will work towards establishing one at the AfriChild Center.
• Child friendlies Index: The child friendliness index has been used to generate information and assessing how friendly African governments are. The CFI always culminates into the Africa Wellbeing report which is an advocacy flagship report on child wellbeing. The CFI is a vital tool that can be adopted and contextualized to facilitate monitoring the situation of children at national level to improve child rights accountability but most importantly make child rights monitoring a process. UCRNN and AfriChild to work with ACPF on implementing the CFI at national level.
• Children deprived of parental care: A potential area to work on is children deprived of parental care, parenting, and alternative care. ACPF already developed a concept that can form the basis for further work. AfriChild has equally conducted national level studies in this area. AfriChild and UCRNN to follow-up with ACPF on furthering this agenda.
• Adolescent issues: This is a neglected issue which needs to be profiled and brought to the limelight. ACPF already has a concept paper on the issue. Further discussion on how to take this forward will be led by AfriChild and UCRNN.