June 16 2017

International Day of the African Child


Children in Africa are particularly vulnerable to falling behind in the global development agenda laid out by the Sustainable Development Goals.

While United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) lays out the universal rights of every child, too many children in Africa are still deprived of these rights.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rates of children living in extreme poverty at 49%. [UNICEF 2016]
  • Half of the world’s extremely poor children live in sub-Saharan Africa. [UNICEF 2016]
  • Over one-fifth of children aged 6-11, and nearly 60% of young people aged 15-17 are out of school in sub-Saharan Africa. [UNESCO]
  • More than 390 million children in sub-Saharan Africa are living in countries affected by humanitarian emergencies [UNICEF 2016]

Impact of inequality

If global inequality is not urgently addressed and the rights of children in Africa are not upheld and guaranteed, the lives and the future of these children are at serious risk. According to UNICEF, unless current trends are reversed:
  • The likelihood that children die before they reach age of five will be 10 times greater in sub-Saharan Africa will than in high-income countries.
  • Of all children living in extreme poverty, nine out of 10 will live in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • More than 30 million primary school-aged children will not go to school.

Ensuring the rights of every child

For children in Africa to be able to thrive and develop their full potential, it is crucial to step up and ensure that their rights are fully met. Necessary actions include: protecting children from all forms of violence; ending poverty; ensuring healthy lives for every child; providing access to education and lifelong learning; empowering girls and women and achieving gender equality; promoting employment and decent work for young people as well as peaceful and inclusive societies in which children and families can grow and develop.

SOS Children’s Villages works to ensure children’s rights to quality care, education, protection and health care as well as to enhance youth employability in Africa. In 2016, we did so through:
  • Almost 490 SOS care programmes focusing on strengthening families, providing alternative care for children who need it, and supporting young people.
  • Education, learning and capacity-building for nearly 297,000 children, young people and adults.
  • Health care for children and families’ to tackle childhood disease and illness that can compromise family stability in 70 medical centres.
  • Assistance for children and families in emergencies in seven countries.
  • Advocacy and awareness-raising on children’s rights.
Learn more about where we work in Africa

Find out more about how we advocate for children’s rights