Every child has the right to a childhood – a time in life to learn, play, grow, develop, and feel safe and protected.

But the world is at a crossroads, and we are heading in the wrong direction.

Childhoods around East and Southern Africa are being cut short due to child mortality and stunting, child marriage, teenage pregnancy, being forced out of school and displacement by conflict.

  • More than a third of children under 5 are stunted
  • 1 in every 3 girls is married before her 18th birthday, and 1 in 10 is married before her 15th birthday
  • Over 7 million people have been displaced
  • More than 1 in 4 school-age children are out of school

A childhood does not end by accident. The world is turning its back on millions of children, just because of who they are and where they live.

And these lost childhoods are a result of choices that exclude children by design or neglect – a key barrier being insufficient, inefficient and unequal public investment in children.

We must act now to change this course. We are therefore urgently calling on countries in East and Southern Africa to ensure that all children have the right to a full and complete childhood.

Specifically, we are asking governments to:

  1. Increase and improve public revenues spent on children, and remove cost barriers to basic services
  2. Change laws and behaviours that are robbing children of their childhood
  3. Guarantee minimum financial security for vulnerable and marginalised children
  4. Ensure children participate meaningfully in decision making
  5. Ensure national health plans have essential packages for reproductive, maternal, newborn, child health, and nutrition services accessible to the whole population which are free at the point of use.

Together we are powerful. Let’s stand up for children and ensure that no child is robbed of their childhood.

Sign the petition towards world leaders and be part of the global movement for a full and complete childhood.