Of The African Child’s Harmful Social And Cultural Practices

The issue of sustainable development for children in Africa continue to stick out like a sore thumb. Most children in Africa face a myriad of problems such as abuse, early marriages, drug abuse, forced labour, trafficking and prostitution.

Of The African Child’s Harmful Social And Cultural Practices

Article 21 of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child makes specific references to harmful social and cultural practices. It states that member countries shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate harmful social and cultural practices affecting the welfare, dignity, normal growth and development of the child.

It further states that child marriages shall be prohibited and effective action, including legislation, shall be taken to specify the minimum age of marriage as 18 and make registration of all marriages in an official registry compulsory.

But in Zimbabwe, we still hear and see young girls being married before they reach the age of consent with those behind such acts roaming freely. Young girls are dropping out of school because of early marriages.

The issues of child prostitution haunts Africa and the world. Globally, it is estimated that about 10 million children under the age of 18 years participate in prostitution related activities.

Furthermore, United Nations statistics show that an estimated one million children are forced into prostitution every year. According to the United Nations Children Rights Commission (UNCRC), and its Optional Protocol on the sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography prohibits “the act of obtaining, procuring or offering the services of a child or inducing a child to perform sexual acts for any form of compensation or reward”.

Of The African Child’s Harmful Social And Cultural Practices

However, an increasing number of Zimbabwean children are exposed to pornographic material on social media or the internet. The threat to morality has seen calls for Government to speed up the cyber-crime law becoming louder.

It is time to move away from the habit of speeches without implementing issues being raised by children and the youth. Children are calling for practicalities that will protect their well-being as they are leaders of tomorrow.

There is need to educate communities, especially on the rights and responsibilities of children. Information is key in ensuring that child protection systems begin to function at grassroots level.

Of The African Child’s Harmful Social And Cultural Practices

Accredited to Tanzikwa Guranungo
Writing for The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe)

Adopted and edited by Tapiwa Zuze

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