16 June 2017

The link between Day of African Child and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The link between Day of African Child and the Sustainable Development Goals.

By Hope Gloria Mugambi Mwanyuma, Founder of Hope Alive Africa Initiative and Walta Gabriel Busulwa, Founder of Abawala Trust Africa  

The international day of African Child (DAC) was instituted by the Assembly of the heads of states and governments of the then Organization of the African Union (OAU) in 1991. 16th June was settled for to commemorate the events of 1975 June 16th: Students Uprising in Soweto, South Africa where students marched in protest against poor quality education and demanded to be taught in their own language. The OAU and her successor, Africa Union (AU) used this day to remember and celebrate these children. The day is also used to inspire sober reflection and action towards addressing the plethora of challenges Africa Children face.

This years’ theme is “The 2030 Agenda for sustainable Development for children in Africa: Accelerating protection, empowerment and equal opportunity; simply towards “Accelerating protection, empowerment and equal opportunity for children in Africa by 2030”  

As signatories to the UN Goals, African countries are obliged to ensure that the realization of these goals impacts the lives of the African child. With several goals directly linked to the African child, Africa stands to gain immensely from the implementation of these goals.

Today’s theme easily links the child rights and the SDGs and therefore there has to be increased accountability, strengthened partnership and alignment among various stakeholders in order to prevent inequality outcomes and invest in all children. This is going to help bring attention to the linkages between the SDGs and the African Children Charter, inspiring the State parties to accelerate efforts towards realizing all children’s rights as provided by the charter.

SDG 16 is specifically significant as it represents the children’s protection from violence. The indicators or measures to accelerate the protection of children include the need to reduce all forms of violence and related death rates, including ending abuse, torture, exploitation and trafficking of children as well as promoting the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensuring equal access to justice for all. SDG 1 is aimed at ending all forms of poverty everywhere while SDG 2 targets the eradicating of hunger, achieving food security and improving nutrition as well as promoting sustainable agriculture. Poverty is a direct cause of hunger for many children, and is a condition that ruins children chances of achieving development in several other areas of life including education, health, housing, and life expectancy. Further on, SDGs 3 (Good and well being) and 6 (clean water and sanitation) recognizes knowledge on health care as forming part of education. SDGs 5 (Gender Equality) and SDG 10 (Reducing Inequalities) ensure child rights especially the girl child and other vulnerable groups including children, and indigenous communities and persons with disabilities are protected.

The theme for 2017 DAC therefore ensures that the socio-economic concerns of most vulnerable and most children are incorporated.

It is in the same spirit of SDG implementation, child protection and upholding child rights that Hope Alive Africa Initiative and Abawala Trust Africa is promoting the campaign on Ending Female Genital Mutilation in Africa since the practice and its effects infringes the rights of girls to education, health and development.