Tuesday 26 June 2018

June 16th every year, Day of the African Child (DAC) is celebrated across the African continent to commemorate the student uprising in Soweto South Africa in accordance with Article 32 and 33 of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) as adopted by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) now called African Union (AU). The goal of the special day is to remember the heroic act of African children in the socio- political and democratic right and sustain the momentum for inclusive growth in the continent.

The theme for year 2018 “Leave No Child Behind In Africa’s Development” is directly linked to our project Systems Transformed for Empowered and Enabled Responses (STEER) which focuses on transforming the systems and institutions that surrounds orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in the society so that they can equally benefit from growth and development services. The day of the African Child thus provides another opportunity for Save the Children STEER project to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to celebrate the heroic resilience of the OVC, reflect on the work we do to leave no child behind and make commitment towards addressing the numerous challenges still confronting children in STEER project communities and Lagos as a whole.

At the event organised by STEER and partners, awareness was created on child development, respecting children’s opinions in family decision, protecting children’s right and making environment safe for children to live in at the community level and engaging the government to mainstream child rights in all its policies and programmes so that children can thrive and develop in a safe and secure environment. The children at various venues were taught the basic rights of the children which includes survival, participation, development and protection rights. The children were also taught on their roles and responsibilities which includes among others obedience to parents, respects for others, promoting peace in the community, law abiding in the community etc.           

Children in Apapa and Surulere Local Government Area (LGA) had a road show to dramatize the rights of the child, fair treatment of the child and the kind of environment that is suitable for the proper growth and development of the child. They also used drama and songs to demand for justice for child right abuses and participation in decisions that affect their lives both at family and society levels.

They advocated for government proactive action to stop the menace of early and forced marriage, child trafficking, kidnapping, child sexual abuse and all forms of violence against children in the community, they solicited for improved investment in education and conducive environment to thrive both at home and schools. The children further demanded gender equality and equity among children, stating that every child is unique and no preference should be given on the basis of a child sex.   

Agege LGA children dramatized about how their inputs to decisions could improve family developments, the community and government in general. Some of the children interviewed during the events stated that they were happy to join their counterparts across Africa to celebrate the Day of the African Child. They applaud Save the Children STEER project for given them the platform to express their feelings towards the development of their lives, families and wider community.  They further express their happiness to commemorate the event for the first time as most of them were not even aware of the annual event.