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Press Statement on Zambia’s Poor ranking in the 2018 African Report on Child Wellbeing
Save the Children wishes to share its concern on Zambia’s ranking in the African Report on Child Wellbeing of 2018 by the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF) released on the 2nd of November 2018 by the board chair Madam Graca Machel.
Zambia is among the bottom nine “least child-friendly” countries and ranked 48th out of the 52 African countries. In 2013, Zambia ranked 36th in Child Friendliness Index and moved down 12 places over the last five years.
The report measures how child friendly African governments are using a Child-Friendliness Index (CFI), which is a rights-based statistical methodology that ACPF developed to measure, monitor and promote government performance in realising the rights and wellbeing of children. It measures state accountability to child rights, as stipulated in international and regional child rights instruments especially the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the African Convention on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC or ‘African Children’s Charter’). It looks at government performance in areas of nutrition, education, budgeting for children, laws and policies and protection of children especially in conflicts and crisis.
According to the report, a child-friendly government is one which is maximising efforts to meet its obligations to respect, protect and fulfil children’s rights and ensure their well being. This includes; efforts made to adopt, implement and enforce laws and policies for the protection of children; public expenditure committed to children’s basic needs and how effectively it achieves concrete child well being outcomes; and efforts made to include children in decisions that affect their well being.
The 2018 Child-friendliness Index covered all African countries except Libya, Somalia and Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. Page xxiii of the report indicates that ‘the “least child-friendly” governments at the bottom of the 2018 table comprise South Sudan, Central African Republic, Chad, Cameroon, Zambia, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea and Eritrea. The legal and policy framework and the enforcement mechanisms in most of these countries remain inadequate and weak. They also invest the least in education, health and well being, despite the prevalence of multiple deprivations amongst their children.’
As the world leading independent organisation for children, Save the Children supports government and other stakeholders to prioritise the rights of children, especially their right to basic services and their right to participate in civic space. The African Report on Child Well being highlights the situation faced by children in Zambia and the many challenges they continue to face.
Why is Zambia’s performance score and ranking very low?
It is also worth mentioning that Zambia had made improvements in some areas:
It is our sincere hope the government will take time to review this report and develop clear commitments to create an enabling environment for children to participate in the government’s developmental agenda for Zambia.
Domestication of child friendliness requires a meaningful dialogue by stakeholders, including children, appropriate legal and institutional arrangements for government local revenue management, resourcing of child-related sectors and their service delivery and a system of incentives to enforce programmes and policies that promote and protect children.
Zambia Country Director
Save the Children