Safe Child Celebrates the International Day of the African Child (2-2)

Approval of the National Plan to End Child Marriage and the National Action Plan to End FGM, 2021-2031

Haffiya Abdalla

International Day of the African Child takes place on June 16, 2022. The Day of the African Child has been celebrated every year since 1991 when it was first initiated by the Organisation of African Unity. It honors those who participated in the Soweto Uprising in 1976 on that day. It also raises awareness of the continuing need for improvement of the education provided to African children.

In Soweto, South Africa, on June 16, 1976, about ten thousand black school children marched in a column more than half a mile long, protesting the poor quality of their education and demanding their right to be taught in their language. Hundreds of young students were shot, the most famous of which being Hector Peterson. More than a hundred people were killed in the protests of the following two weeks, and more than a thousand were injured.

Journalists for Children, Safe Child Organization, in partnership with Plan International, Sudan, celebrated the Day of the African Child, organized a celebration for children under the slogan ” combating customs and harmful practices to children and negative social norms”, and contains many programs and activities in cooperation with the Forum of Civil Society Organizations, under the umbrella of the National Council for Child Welfare (NCCW).

The Secretary-General of the National Council for Child Welfare (NCCW), Dr. Abdul Qadir Abdalla Abu has affirmed the continuation of efforts to formulate policies and develop plans to guarantee the rights of the child.

Abu reviewed the measures taken by the Government of Sudan to end harmful practices by developing the National Strategy to Eliminate Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) 2010-2018 and approved the National Action Plan to End FGM 2021-2031.

The Secretary-General explained that the plan was based on previous measures and experiences to end harmful traditional practices, according to the constitutional document of the transitional government of the Republic of Sudan, in addition to approving the national plan to end child marriage in Sudan 2021-2031, at the level of the social sector of the Council of Ministers.

Dr. Sediga Kabeida, head of the Safe Child Organization, said that the celebration comes while the country is going through exceptionally complicated circumstances and high deaths as a result of conflicts and disputes. She also said that the celebration aims to draw attention to the rights of children that are guaranteed to them by international laws and charters and to monitor the situation of children.

Dr. Naila El Tayeb Abu Shoura, Plan International, Sudan Office, said “we celebrate this day to remind ourselves of the progress made in the field of policies, laws, and programs in dealing with children’s rights and protection.

Abu Shoura called for the activation of Article 141, which criminalizes female genital mutilation (FGM). She noted the mobilization of resources from the government side and the support of structures through families, localities, the center, and the states. “I relied on the role of the media in changing behavior among societies and decision-makers”.

Yasser Muhammad Bashir, head Journalists for Children Association, called for the children’s voice to be shown by being participants, not recipients, through programs and activities and knowing their views towards addressing their issues.

It is worth noting Plan International has been working in Sudan since 1977. Their goal is for vulnerable children and youth to realize their full potential in protective and resilient communities which respect and promote equality.

They support girls’ rights and gender equality to bring about transformative changes for girls, youth, and wider society.

There are many internally displaced people in Sudan as well as refugees from neighboring countries and others around the region due to protracted conflicts. In addition, the country’s economy is deteriorating and public expenditure on education and healthcare is shrinking. There is also a high prevalence of child marriage and female genital mutilation.

Plan International Sudan will build on its reputation as a thought leader and a partner of choice for the government and local civil society organizations on gender equality and the empowerment of young people.

They strengthen the ability of girls and young people to learn, lead, decide and thrive in their lives and communities, achieve this by building partnerships that empower children and youth and effect necessary changes in policies, laws, and practices.

Their current priorities include:

  1. Securing children’s rights to a good start in life and a quality education
  2. Protecting children from all forms of abuse, neglect, exploitation, and violence, focusing on female genital mutilation and child marriage
  3. Supporting young people to learn skills, get good jobs and achieve economic security
  4. Protecting children in emergency and conflict situations
  5. Promoting the meaningful participation of children and young people in society.

The areas of Sudan they work in are Kassala, White Nile, North Kordofan, South Kordofan, North Darfur, and Khartoum. We will soon be expanding to work in the states of the Red Sea and Al Gedarif.

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