June 16, 2017

Day of the African Child 2017: news and views as campaigners stand up for children's rights

Young people across the continent and around the world are holding events and campaigning for every child to receive quality care and education.

Events are being held today to mark Day of the African Child - when young campaigners show their support for the rights of children across the continent.

Among them are Theirworld's Global Youth Ambassadors, our network of 500 inspiring activists aged 18 to 29 from more than 80 countries.

This blog will feature news, pictures and social media postings from some of the Day of the African Child events. So please visit us again for more updates.

How it all began

On this day 41 years ago, thousands of children in Soweto, South Africa, protested about the poor quality of their education and the fact that the minority white language was being forced into their schools.

School children protest in Soweto, South Africa, in 1976

That peaceful demonstration ended in bloodshed - and out of the tragedy came the Day of the African Child. 

Learn more about the events of June 16, 1976

Stats that tell the story

In sub-Saharan Africa, there are 55 million children who do not go to school. More than a fifth of sub-Saharan African children between the ages of six and 11 and a third of youths aged 12 and 14 are out of school, according to UNESCO.

Less than 12% of African children currently have access to early childhood care and education services. 

But there has also been progress. Almost twice as many girls in East Africa and three times as many in Central Africa completed secondary education in 2014 as in 2005, according to the annual African Economic Outlook report published last month.

Be inspired by our Global Youth Ambassadors

Several of our GYAs have written special blogs to mark Day of the African Child. Here are the links.

Omoyele Isaac Success from Nigeria tells how a new school is giving slum children in Lagos access to quality education.

Kenneth Gyamerah from Ghana writes about the need to give hope to rural children in his country.

GYA Kenneth Gyamerah from Ghana campaigns for equal opportunities for rural children

Ousmane Ba from Sierra Leone reflects on the Soweto massacre and the need to mobilise for children's rights.

Marshall Dyton from Malawi says his country should prioritise early childhood development to stop kids ending up on the streets.

Girls are cracking the code

Theirworld's Code Clubs in several African countries allow girls to learn digital skills in a safe environment. Students at one of the clubs in Kampala, Uganda, shared some of their work with us.

You can learn more about our Code Clubs on the link below...

Children's voices heard in Kenya

2000 children gathered in Bungoma County, where the guest of honour was the president of the Kenya Children’s Assembly - a high school student.

Gilbert Ngaira - Country Programmes Manager for the Kenya Alliance for Advancement of Children - writes a fascinating blog for us about how Day of the African Child events give children a platform to air their views.

Read it here.

Here's what some other international charities and UN agencies are saying today...

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