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CHILD RIGHTS

CONTEXT: SITUTATION OF CHILDREN IN WEST AFRICA

The children of Africa, especially in West Africa face a range of challenges that impact their well-being, development, and future prospects. This region, comprised of 15 countries, is characterized by a diverse cultural landscape and significant economic disparities. While efforts have been made to improve the lives of children, several pressing issues persist:

  1. Child Labor and Exploitation: Child labour remains a major concern in West Africa, particularly in sectors such as agriculture, mining, and domestic work. Many children are forced to work in hazardous conditions, denying them the chance for education and healthy development.
  2. Gender Inequality and limited Access to Quality Education. Gender disparities persist in terms of education, health, and opportunities. Girls often face barriers in accessing education and healthcare, perpetuating a cycle of inequality. Despite progress in increasing school enrolment rates, a significant number of children still lack access to quality education. Barriers include poverty, inadequate infrastructure, and cultural norms that prioritize boys’ education over girls’.
  3. Healthcare and Nutrition Challenges and Climate changes impact and Lack of Social Protection: High child mortality rates and inadequate healthcare services contribute to a lack of overall well-being. Malnutrition is prevalent, leading to stunted growth and weakened immune systems among children. The prevalence of many diseases in West Africa poses significant health risks to children. Many children are orphaned due to the disease, leaving them vulnerable and without proper care.  Adequate social protection mechanisms are often lacking, leaving many children without access to essential services and support systems.
  4. Child Trafficking and Migration: West Africa has become a source, transit, and destination region for child trafficking and migration. Unaccompanied minors are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, and human trafficking.
  5. Conflict and Instability: Ongoing conflicts and political instability in some West African countries have led to displacement, disrupted education, and increased vulnerabilities for children.

WACSOF IMPACTFUL ACTIONS IN CHILD RIGHTS

  1. AFTER A REGION WIDE CSO MAPPING, WACSOF HAS DEVELOPED A SOLID WEST AFRICAN CHILD RIGHTS NETWORK OF CSO’S.
  2. WACSOF ORGANIZED CAPACITY BUILDING ACTIVITIES ON CHILD RIGHTS
  3. WACSOF HAS SUPPORTED CSO’S TO PRODUCE SHADOW REPORTS
  4. WACSOF HELPED ECOWAS ON THE FORMULATION & SENSITIZATION OF ECOWAS CHILD POLICY & ROADMAP OF ENDING CHILD MARIAGE
  5. WACSOF CONDUCTED MANY SENSITIZATION AND AWARNESS CAMPAIGNS ON THE ECOWAS CHILD RIGHTS POLICY AND THE ECOWAS ROADMAP TO ENDING CHILD MARIAGE
  6. WACSOF PUBLISHED A STUDY CALLED YOUNG VOICES, ON THE STATE OF CHILDREN IN COUNTRIES IN WEST AFRICA
  7. WACSOF COORDINATES THE WEST AFRICAN MOBILIZATION FOR CSO FORUM ON ACERWC (AFRICAN CHATER ON THE RIGHTS & WELFARE OF CHILDREN)

WACSOF  HAD MANY ENGAGEMENTS WITH THE  ECOWAS PARLIAMENT ON STATE OF CHILD RIGHTS IN WEST AFRICA

THE FOUR PILLARS OF THE ECOWAS CHILD POLICY

SURVIVAL RIGHTS

 The child’s right to life and the needs that are most basic to existence. These include nutrition, shelter, adequate living standard, and access to medical services.

DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS

 The right to education play, leisure, Cultural activities, access to information. Freedom of thought, conscience and religion

PROTECTION RIGHTS

Safeguard for children in contact with the law. Protection for children in employment Protection & rehabilitation for children who have suffered violence, exploitation or abuse of any kind

PARTICIPATION RIGHTS

Children’s freedom to express opinions, to have a say in matters affecting their own lives. To join associations & to assemble peacefully. Have increasing opportunity to participate in the activities of society, in preparation for adulthood.

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