Over 250 children across Africa were at the forefront of the 3-day Africa Children Summit. They were empowered and provided with a platform to be seen, heard and engaged!
The inaugural Summit which took place from 10th-12th April 2023, in Nairobi, Kenya was attended by over 250 children aged between 5-25 years from different countries across Africa. The Vice Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Chair of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children, public figures, experts, CSOs, and government officials graced the occasion.
The child-led summit gave children across Africa a platform to participate in shaping policies and program interventions around issues affecting them. The summit empowered them and created a space where they felt seen, heard and engaged by their peers and community. Children were able to engage in unscripted and authentic dialogue with adults. They confidently shared information and challenges they are facing in an era of newly emerging risks, such as pandemics and climate change, giving strong recommendations.
"Children are the present and the future. We are here as duty bearers to not only to listen but to take into account all the matters you have put across," said Dr. Najat M'jid, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children.
During the 3 days, children shared their thoughts and experiences and read an outcome statement of solutions to issues in the areas of Child Participation, Education, Health, the Internet and Children's Protection, Violence against Children, Climate Change, Access to Justice, Media and Technology that needed to be addressed and implemented by duty bearers.
¨The Africa Children summit was good. We have enjoyed a lot. We have learnt more about education and how parents should be social with their children by taking them to school, giving them shelter and a good education,¨ said Bahati, 17 years old, child participant from Nakuru, Kenya.
¨The summit was nice and educative. We have to remember that children are not only the future, but they are also the present and they need to be heard,¨ said Michelina, 17 years old, child participant from Nakuru, Kenya.
With the successful end of the summit, a Communique/Outcome statement with policy recommendations and advocacy asks was packaged and will be shared with Regional bodies, the UN, Governments and CSOs.
As Terre des Hommes Netherlands continues to engage children to participate in building and sharing knowledge on child exploitation, we call upon all the key actors to take into account all matters raised by children as outlined in the outcome statement and commit to taking necessary action!