The Gender Justice Specialist and Gender Focal Person at the United Nations Development for Programmes (UNDP), Madam Vivian Neejay Innis says despite commitments from the Liberian government to international protocols, the country still lags behind in many respects, more so in the implementation of the many laws and policies already in place.
She narrates that it is for this reason that children across the country continue to remind their leaders of the obligation to live up to their words by ensuring they create an environment that is beneficial to children at all levels.
Speaking during the observance of the Day of the African Child Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Monrovia at the Spiritan Academy under the theme: “30 years after the adoption of the Charter; accelerating the implementation of Agenda 2040 for an Africa fit for children”, Madam Innis said it implies an environment that nurtures the holistic development of children in Liberia and as the children of Liberia continue to celebrate the Day of the African Child, their deep hope lies in the totality of the implementation of the conventions to the latter.
She notes that of the 57 million primary school-age children worldwide who are currently out of school, more than half are from sub-Saharan Africa and national leaders should focus on reducing the number.
, “I will urge our leaders to consider the links between the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Charter on Children. We must do all we can to inspire our leaders to accelerate efforts to realize all children’s rights, as set out in the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child,” Madam Innis adds.
The gender specialist at the UNDP states that this celebration provides a platform to reflect on the national and continental African goals for Agenda 2040 and how they apply to children in Africa today.
According to her, everyone must embrace the vision in Liberia, and children across the country must continue to remind national leaders of promise to live up to their words, especially when it comes to enhancing children’s right to participation and giving them a platform to express their views in a meaningful and most empowering way.
“This is also an opportunity for us adults…. leaders, teachers, clergy, etc, to hold ourselves accountable on various issues of the SDGs and the African Charter that are yet to be fulfilled and continue to interfere with the rights of children in the country. This celebration also reminds us that all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and their 196 targets relate to children and must be acted upon if children’s rights are to be realized in Liberia and indeed in the greater Africa,” she explains.
She adds that it also reveals that some goals relate more directly to children’s rights, such as SDGs including eliminating poverty and hunger, promoting health, securing education, achieving gender equality, and access to water and sanitation others.
Madam Innis says the gathering of students, teachers, and parents for the Day of the African Child is a great day for all children in Africa and brings to life most of the commitments made by African countries to achieve the SDGs’ goals 2030.
The Day of the African Child commemorates the heroism of the African child. On June 16, 1976, nearly ten thousand black students from Soweto, South Africa, marched the streets to protest against the poor quality of their education and to demand their right to be educated in their own language.
Madam Innis is a development practitioner committed to serving and designing a methodology to positively impact the lives of women, children, disadvantaged youth, and the extremely poor. By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor