Southern African countries have committed to ending violence against children after World Vision Southern Africa officially launched its regional five-year campaign on Wednesday.
The launch in Johannesburg, South Africa, was part of World Vision’s roll-out of its global campaign to curb violence against children entitled “It takes a world to end violence against children”.
A United Nations Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children estimates that 500-million to 1.5-billion children experience violence annually worldwide.
Prevalent forms of violence against children in the region, as well as the rest of the continent, include child labour, child marriage, sexual and physical violence, female genital mutilation and vulnerability caused by internal displacement.
The campaign aims to catalyse a global movement of people committed to keeping children safe from harm.
Its name reflects the fact that no one person, group or organisation can solve this problem alone; but collective action is needed.
World Vision Southern African interim regional leader, Jean-Claude Mukadi, said member states that have embraced child rights agendas relating to ending violence against children made use of the platform to engage with other stakeholders and discuss solutions to strengthen implementation in their various spheres of influence.
“It was against the backdrop of reports indicating that every five minutes a child dies as a result of violence globally, that World Vision Southern Africa engaged member states and other stakeholders in the region to end violence against children,” said Mukadi.
“We have had enough. Our eyes have seen too much violence against children. Our hearts have bled too much for children whose lives are ruined by violence. Our heads have struggled to comprehend why, for long enough. This cannot continue. This is why World Vision and its partners are committed to ensuring children are protected from whatever form of violence.”
World Vision’s Southern Africa regional launch followed a continental launch held in February 2017 at the African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
This was followed by a global launch in March and several others around the world.
The regional campaign is expected to impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of children by making a significant contribution towards their well-being in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and the AU’s Agenda 2063.
The campaign, which was launched in collaboration with ministries in charge of child protection drew participants from governments, civil society organisations, interfaith groups, the United Nations agencies, private sector and other stakeholders.