“We will make a difference – everyone wins when an African child thrives”

Literacy And Numeracy East Africa 2
Children from poorer households consistently show lower learning levels (Faith Ocharo)

Barriers to education, Day of the African Child, Global Youth Ambassadors, Right to education

Too many children are still being denied their right to education - but that can change with decisive action, says a Global Youth Ambassador.

Today in Africa children suffer from issues relating to restricted access to education. This can result in physical, mental and emotional abuse, due to poor access to recreational facilities as well as the basic needs for life. 

The problems facing African children are countless. However, to say we haven’t made any progress in curbing these issues would be unjust to the people and organisations who have made it their core business to fight them. 

Men and women have sacrificed their all, given their best and strived to make Africa a better place for our children.

In 1796, The Rights of Infants by Thomas Spence was the first publication on the rights of children. This laid the foundation for the general recognition of the rights of children that we see today. 

It displayed the need for everyone to fight for the rights of children. Many individuals and organisations have worked hard to see that children’s rights are structured, ensured and protected. 

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is seen as the basis for all legal standards for children’s rights today, was put into place. This, together with other historical documents, gave birth to the Convention on the Rights of a Child (CRC) in 1989. 

This is the first legally binding international document which incorporates the full range of human rights. National governments that ratify it commit themselves to protecting and ensuring children’s rights, and agree to holding themselves accountable for this commitment before the international community. 

This in itself was, and still is, a great milestone in the provision of children’s rights in Africa. The African charter on the rights of a child also continues to play a significant role in the fight for children’s rights.

Many children are deprived of nutrition, health, water or shelter. These factors are vital in the development of a child and for the continent at large. Precious Kalungu

The Day of the African Child, which was held on June 16, is a perfect example of how far we have come and how much we have achieved. This day is dedicated to honour all those who took part in the Soweto uprising and the individuals who risked their lives for the betterment of African children. 

It raises awareness for the continuing need for education to be provided to African children. These movements symbolise the results of perseverance, relentlessness and sacrifice. 

They give us a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of success. But are we there yet? The answer is unfortunately no, we are not. 

Despite all the positive progress we have made, we have not reached our destination yet. According to statistics one out of every five children are out of school. This means our African children are being denied their right to education, which delays and affects Africa’s development in the long run.

This is caused by various issues we are reluctant to solve, such as poor access to recreational facilities, which is a social right to children and plays a significant role in the development and growth of every child. 

Furthermore, 247 million children are deprived of their basic needs and rights. For many children this means being deprived of nutrition, health, water or shelter. These factors are vital in the development of a child and for the continent at large. 

Africa Secondary Education Girls 3

Girls take notes during a class in St. Joseph Secondary School in the city of Makeni, Sierra Leone (UNICEF / Bindra)

“Leave no child behind for Africa’s development”, was this year’s theme, and it could not have come at a better time. This theme makes us realise the need to move with every child from across all sections of society leaving no one behind. 

It challenges us to do more and to engage and to fight for our children and our continent’s development.

It is still our hope and dream to see African child thrive, take centre stage and lead to become not only Africa’s driving force in terms of development but also the world. 

We have come too far to slow down or even stop now. We can still fulfil our ancestors’ vision for the African child if we all come together and be the change that we want to see. 

We will eventually make a difference. Everyone wins when an African child thrives.

“Children are the leaders of the future generation” is a statement well known by thousands of individuals on this planet. This statement has been recited by many leaders and inscribed in various books. 

Utterances are formulated, but without action or rather activation, they are futile.

Written by Nelson Mbundi and Precious Kalungu.

More news

See all news