An unsettled past, an uncertain future

Pilot Study: Children on the Move using the Southern Route in Eastern and Southern Africa


Children make up a significant part of the large-scale and complex population movements. The 2019 United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs dataset on migration show that nearly 1 in 4 international migrants in Southern and Eastern Africa is below the age of 18 years. Children on the move have the right to safe passage. When this is assured and their rights and well-being are supported, these girls and boys can benefit from resources, institutions and opportunities that may be unavailable in countries of origin, while also making valuable contributions to their new places of residence. However, a safe journey is far from what many children on the move will experience.

Migration patterns within and from Eastern and Southern Africa are highly dynamic, responding to climatic and environmental pressures, political, economic and social factors, including conflict and instability, as well as national and international immigration and refugee policies. This report on Children on the Move using the Southern route in Eastern and Southern Africa is a regional research initiative led by the United Nations Children’s Fund Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office and implemented in partnership with the Mixed Migration Centre. The pilot study covered three countries: South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Report cover
Publication date

Files available for download