Four decades have lapsed, but the memories of a dark day in the continent of Africa cannot be forgotten, a day where more than 20 000 black South African children were butchered for just demanding a better education system. The Day of the African Child, 16 June, is therefore a day set aside to analyze the barriers faced by African children in accessing quality education and to promote and proffer solutions for equality and equity in African education systems.
The Students and Youth Working on reproductive Health Action Team (SAYWHAT) therefore joins the rest of the world, African governments and other progressive CSOs to celebrate the Day of the African Child. DAC 2021 is running under the theme, “30 years after the adoption of the Charter: accelerate implementation of Agenda 2040 for an Africa fit for children”. The theme seeks to push for the acceleration of efforts by national governments to put in place resources, policies and strategies that promote the betterment of African children`s education. As we celebrate the African children who were brave enough to stand up for their rights in the face of injustice, SAYWHAT calls upon all progressive stakeholders (state and non-state actors), for a serious introspection and commitment towards addressing numerous challenges faced by children, with a particular focus on accessibility of an equitable and quality education in Zimbabwe.
The organization has noted a gap in the access to equitable education around rural and farming communities in Zimbabwe which disproportionately affect the chances of children to have a potentially successful career in future. The community of Mazowe has recorded a rise in teen pregnancies and child marriages which has affected their access to education. As a result of this realization, SAYWHAT is proud to mention that it has made some positive strides in the promotion of equal access to education in the farming community of Mazowe. SAYWHAT in partnership with Farming Communities Educational Trust (FACET) and with support from HIVOS is implementing a program in the farming community of Mazowe mainly targeting girls with the sole purpose of ending child marriages and an inclusion of pregnant girls back into the education system. It is therefore SAYWHAT`s argument that the inclusion of pregnant girls back into the education system and also programming around child marriages has a potential to improve the lives of the girl child within the Mazowe community.
Given this evidence and in the spirit of commemorating the Day of the African Child, SAYWHAT calls upon all progressive and likeminded stakeholders to accelerate their efforts in promoting the rights of children in Zimbabwe. Every stakeholder`s efforts in promoting children`s rights makes a positive impact in children`s livelihood. Though stakeholders’ interventions in the promotion and protection of children`s rights can come from different angles of programming, there is only one goal we are all looking forward to: a Zimbabwe fit for children; a Zimbabwe that respect children`s rights.
Happy Day of the African Child!