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African governments commit to ending violence against children

26th May 2022

Over 30 countries tackle social and cultural drivers of violence.

On May 11-13, 2022, the African partnership to end violence against children (APEVAC) hosted the Pan-African symposium on violence prevention in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The symposium brought together senior government officials and civil society leaders from over 30 African countries with the aim of renewing action and commitment to prevent violence against children.

The symposium provided an opportunity for Pathfinding and aspiring countries from across the continent to share their experiences, and distill lessons on what works to prevent and address violence against children.

These countries have committed to raising awareness, mobilizing leadership, galvanizing action, and establishing national standards to end violence against children.

Pathfinding countries use the INSPIRE Seven strategies for ending violence against children to understand the drivers of violence and build integrated responses. These strategies include — but are not limited to — the creation of a country’s national action plan to end violence.

Ministerial Panel at Pan African Symposium on Violence Prevention in Addis Ababa Ethiopia
Left to right: Hon Mrs Manty Tarawalli, Minister Gender and Children’s Affairs, Republic of Sierra Leone; Hon Mrs Aya Benjamin Warille, Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, Republic of South Sudan; Advocate Bience Gawanas, Under-Secretary-General, Special Adviser on Africa (2018-2020) Commissioner of Social Affairs, AU (2002-2012); APEVAC Advisory Group Member and Hon Mrs Sarah Nyirabashitsi Mateke, Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Republic of Uganda and Hon Mrs. Patricia Annie Kaliati, Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, Republic of Malawi.

12 Pathfinding countries:

Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

25 countries aspiring to join the Pathfinding initiative and champion the agenda of ending violence against children:

Angola, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, DRC, Egypt, Eswatini, Gambia, Ghana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Seychelles, Togo, and Tunisia.

Taking action to end violence against children

“African governments must do more to tackle social and cultural attitudes, gender discrimination and poverty which drive violence against children,” said Dr. Joan Nyanyuki, Executive Director of African Child Policy Forum and Chair of the Executive Council of APEVAC. “Emerging challenges including armed conflict, displacement, violent extremism, and the COVID-19 pandemic have only added to the problem.”

After the three-day event, participants gained an understanding of approaches, policies, and programs, which have been effective in violence prevention and can be adapted and scaled in other countries.

Pan African Symposium End Violence Against Children

Countries referenced the Violence Against Children and Youth Surveys (VACS) as the main source of data for violence prevention. The symposium call to action underscored the need to build the evidence base on ‘what works’, including through documenting home-grown and community-based good practices in violence prevention.

Although African countries face unique challenges that drive violence against children, many countries have taken action and committed to cross-sectoral coordination and initiatives for violence prevention and response efforts. As a result of the Pan-African symposium, there is renewed commitment and hope for a continent where all children are free from violence.