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Africa Takes a Tough Look at Africa — And the Way It Treats Its Children (NPR)

December 4, 2018

By Joanne Lu

From the article:

The African Child Policy Forum (ACPF) has released its latest rankings of African countries on a "Child-Friendliness Index." Every few years since 2008, the Ethiopia-based research center scores governments on their intentions to improve children's legal protections, poverty rates, health, nutrition and education – as well as the outcomes of those intentions.

Some countries are doing well — and even making strides. eSwatini (formerly known as Swaziland) was ranked 51 out of 52 countries in 2008. This year it was number 9. The reasons for the improvement? In 2012, eSwatini adopted a Children's Protection and Welfare Act that largely brought the country's laws in line with international human rights laws on children's rights. According to the report, it has also significantly improved children's access to health care, resulting in higher survival rates, more measles vaccinations and better access to sanitation.

Caroline Lambert says that governments also have a valuable resource in other actors, especially local leaders, civil society and regional partners. She's a former fellow at the Center for Global Development who recently co-authored a book with Malawi's first female president Joyce Banda on the importance of investing in African girls.

"In a lot of African countries, the government's reach is limited," she says. "It's not about governments acting by themselves. It's about reach; it's about who can do what better; it's about mobilizing resources – not just money."

Read the full article here