Day of the African Child 2015 blog: standing up for children and against child marriage

Day of the African Child

Young people around the world stood up for children’s rights on June 16 by marking Day of the African Child.

 A World at School’s Global Youth Ambassadors led the way, raising awareness particularly about this year’s theme of child marriage.

This blog feature news, pictures and social media postings from some of the Day of the African Child events. You can also find out about the tragedy in Soweto, South Africa, that led to Day of the African Child and relive last year’s events in our 2014 blog.

The African Union chose child marriage as the Day of the African Child 2015 theme. Every year, 15 million girls under the age of 18 become brides – an average of 40,000 girls every day. Many of these girls are not in school and lack of access to education increases the chances of child, early and forced marriage.

Source: Girls Not Brides. Join their Thunderclap

In sub-Saharan Africa, 66% of women with no education were married before age 18 compared to only 13% of those with secondary education.

A World at School is urging communities to set up child marriage-free zones and is calling on governments to adopt and enforce the legal age of marriage and protect children as minors in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child. 

One way child marriage can be prevented is setting up a fund for education in emergencies to help children return to the classroom during and after conflicts and disasters. You can make your voice heard by world leaders by signing the #UpForSchool Petition.


Global Youth Ambassador Seguya Hillary Innocent Taylor joined the students of Bat Valley Primary School in Kampala, Uganda, to mark Day of the African Child. These fantastic pictures show just what a great event it was.

Above, the children make the #UpForSchool sign. Below, he tells the boys and girls about the campaign to get all children around the world into school. See more pictures on his Facebook page.


Global Youth Ambassador Purpose Osamwonyi Iserhienrhien shared this picture of an event which she hosted in Nigeria. The theme was the prospect for the African child under the new Sustainable Development Goals.

Another Nigerian GYA, Chiamaka Adline, wrote this blog about Day of the African Child.

Ojonwa Miachi was at the event pictured above in the Nigerian capital Abuja. She said: “A World at School Global Youth Ambassadors, Connected Development (CODE) and other partners marked Youth Action Week, together with young people including students and IDPs.

“It was exciting to note that we had the ears of the government, as the representative of the Universal Basic Education Commission answered all our questions and encouraged us to continue our advocacy at state level to make maximum impact.”

Again in Nigeria, ​GYA Nina Mbah (at far right of the picture above) was at an event with fellow ambassador Happy Zirra. The caption is: “Students and lecturers of Kaduna State University and Kaduna Polytechnic, CST Campus support the #UpForSchool Petition on #DayoftheAfricanChild.”

Nigerian GYA Daniel Nwaeze told us about attending Day of the African Child events. He said: “First was at Kabba where – with a team of six speakers from the MDGs sensitisation team – we visited Claret secondary school. The students’ were happy to learn how getting an education helps defeat traditional norms like early child marriage.

GYA from Daniel Nwaeze at Day of African Child event

“Next was the #DareToDream conference in Lagos, an initiative of NextGen Africa to promote the beauty of the African child and inspire them to excel. We had seven great facilitators with their beautiful African stories of hardships in Nigeria and the beauty they feel now having come through all these.

“With over 200 students in attendance, we experienced similar success in rural Mopa in Kogi state.”


Fideline Mborgingong and Kenfack Foleng Alex are GYAs in Cameroon who held an event in Yaounde to mark Day of the African Child. They said: “It brought together youths from different works of life like students, teachers and leaders of different youth associations.

“We did three key presentations looking at how youths can engage in solving the problems of child marriage in Cameroon, which is one of the issues hindering access to education.

“We presented the #UpForSchool campaign and got the participants sign the petition.” You can also read about Kenfack Foleng Alex’s event in Yaounde to mark World Day Against Child Labour.


GYA Modiu Nyange from The Gambia shared these great pictures from an event. Gambian civil society organisations under the leadership of the Child Protection Alliance, The Forum for African Women Educationalists Gambia Chapter, GAMCTROP, Think Young Women and others jointly held events across the country to engage communities, policy makers and traditional and religious leaders.

The theme was eradicating child marriage, as well as outlining the need to keep girls in school. The pictures were taken by Lamin K. Saidy, Youth Coordinator of Child Protection Alliance Gambia.

Also in The Gambia, Andrew Gibba held a two-hour radio show on Day of the African Child.

He said: ​” I was able to get in parents and leaders to contribute on the show. My panellists talked about the risk of early marriage and why girls should not drop out of school.

“We also had phone call and tex​t​ messages from young people and parents and we ended up by talking about A World at School and the need for education.​”

Fellow GYA Haddy Jonga also hosted a radio show…

…And she also organised a march in her community.

Still in The Gambia, GYA Ebrima Jaiteh sent us this great picture below. He explained: “These are students of a school called Masroor Senior Secondary School in Banjul. We love and support the idea of creating basic primary education for children globally to ensure the eradication of illiteracy.

GYA from The Gambia Ebrima Jaiteh at Day of the African Child event.jpg

“Children’s education is very importan. Who knows if one day they might become leaders of the next generation? So the students say: stand #UpForSchool.”


Global Youth Ambassador Uriah G. Moore from Liberia sent us this picture with the caption: “Celebrating Day of the African Child, during which I worked with some friends to advocate for quality education in Liberia and the right that all children be in school.”

Also in Liberia, GYA Trokon Wleyou shared this photo from a DAC event.


GYA Maricus Kargbo from Sierra Leone explained this picture: “With Yacan Kids on Ayv Radio, analysing the theme of this year’s June 16 in relation to education – education the means of positive change.”


Eight GYAs in South Africa organised a townhall meeting on the theme “Unlocking opportunities for development in South African education”, focusing on enabling access to education for the most marginalised, enhancing quality of education and ensuring the global relevance of education in South Africa.

Global Youth Ambassador Faith Abiodun said: “GYA Ntsiki Ncwadi share her personal education story, while Lalumbe Makuya and Vuyelwa Zandamela moderated two panels.

“Mr Warren Hero from Microsoft was our keynote speaker. Our panelists were invited from organisations like Microsoft, African Leadership Academy, Tomorrow Trust, Open Futures Foundation, Katlego Pele Education and others.

“There were about 70 attendees, all of whom signed the #UpForSchool Petition. We are planning a follow-up session in August, with some other side activities lined up.”


In the Democratic Republic of Congo, GYA Heritier Nosso took part in a live TV and radio broadcast and talked about child marriage and the #UpForSchool Petition. He said: “This show was a complete success – we received several calls and SMS messages, some of them from other countries like Angola, France and Belgium. Many have pledged to fight against the scourge of child marriage and to accompany us in the campaign.”


Our friends at Plan International have made this video about Sintayehu from Ethiopia, whose father agreed to marry her off to an older man. Watch the film to find out what happened.


UNICEF handed over its Twitter account to five inspiring young African women who will share their stories of overcoming struggles and helping others to fight child marriage and other child rights violations.


A wide variety of events have been taking place in Kenya. The TV news report above gives a flavour of them.

And here’s a look at some of the other Day of the African Child events that have been shared on Twitter…


This great picture below came in a tweet from the Oando Foundation.
















This blog will be updated throughout June 16 and more pictures and social media images added on June 17.

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